God waited thousands of years to definitively answer the question whether sin truly leads naturally to death. Finally, in the fullness of time, God sacrificed Himself in the Son, to demonstrate the truthfulness of His word. He did not ask us to prove the truthfulness of His word. He could have, by leaving us to die. Instead, He Himself came and died that awful death. And Jesus knew why He was dying. He saw it all in the larger context of the great controversy. He knew about Satan’s charges. So as He died, He said “It is finished” (John 19:30, KJV). Just as God, at the end of creation week, said “I’ve finished the work of creation” (Gen 2:2-3).
When Jesus died on the cross, then, He was saying, “We finished it all.” The most important answer to the most devastating accusation had been given at infinite cost. But what exactly was finished? Look at John 17:4: “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (NKJV). His work was to reveal the character of God to angels and to men (John 1:18; 12:31-32; 14:6-9; 15:10). On Friday evening, when Jesus died at the end of crucifixion week, all the major questions in the great controversy had been answered and all of Satan’s charges against God had been met. And how significant it is that the next day was the seventh-day Sabbath. Jesus could have gone to heaven on Friday to hear the universe tell Him that it was more than enough; everything was clear. Instead He waited over the Sabbath hours.
Can you imagine what the universe was doing during those Sabbath hours? Surely the whole universe paused to reflect on the significance of what they had seen. They joined with the Father in celebrating the costly victory that had been won, and in thanking Him for the costly evidence that had been presented. Because of the cross, they knew that the universe was secure for eternity. As I understand it, this is the Sabbath God asks us to remember. We need to pause and be reminded of those truths in which the angels rejoice. This is certainly no mere test of our obedience. Caught up in the great controversy as we are, we need the message of the seventh day. Surely that is what Jesus meant when He said “The Sabbath was made for the good of man” (Mark 2:27, GNB). So were all of God’s laws!