If you’ve stayed with us throughout our Dwell series, then this is the fourth time you’ve read through the crucifixion of Jesus. If you’re like me, it hits differently each time. That’s because each gospel has little pieces unique to the author. Today let’s take a look at a piece of the story that only John tells us.
John 19:28-30 says
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”[a] 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
“It is finished”
In John, we find the only account of Jesus uttering those final words, “It is finished.” I get chills just saying it. These words mean so much to us and our journey with Jesus.
Let’s look at 3 things that were accomplished when Jesus said “It is finished.”
Prophecies throughout the Old Testament about the life and death of the Messiah were fulfilled. From Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the birth and death of the Messiah. From Isaiah saying the Messiah would be born from a virgin to the Psalms telling us of the coming crucifixion - Prophecy that was written centuries, some of them a thousand years, before Jesus was born, it all came to pass.
The punishment of sin necessary for our redemption was complete. Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” We know from the Old Testament that a price must be paid in blood to pay for our sins. Jesus gave up His life to take on the judgment of sin for us.
Universal forgiveness of sin was made available through the shedding of blood. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t so one race or one people group or one nation could be forgiven. It was so every single person could have access to forgiveness and eternal life.
I am a word junkie. I enjoy learning new words and understanding how to apply words in an intelligent way. I love learning the Greek and Hebrew meanings behind words in scripture. So, of course, I needed to look into this statement that Jesus said on the cross.
The Greek word for “it is finished” is Tetelestai. Tetelestai comes from the verb teleo, which means "to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish." This word would be your mantra after a great accomplishment. After you complete your first 5k, you would shout tetelestai, or maybe after you completed a huge assignment at school or at work. It means more than “I did it,” it means “I did exactly what I set out to do.”
Tetelestai is in the perfect tense in Greek, and in the Greek, the perfect tense of a verb speaks of an action which was completed in the past that still has effects in the present. That is significant because it means Jesus wasn’t simply saying, “this happened.” He was saying “it was finished in the past, it’s still finished today, and it will remain finished in the future.”
So, what about “it is finished” means the most to you today? Is it that you have freedom from sin, or is it that you have confidence that you’ll be in Heaven? Maybe the thing that means the most to you is that we have access to the throne of God because Jesus finished it. He went the distance for us.
Let's take a moment today to say "Thank you, Jesus, that it is finished!"