When Finished Means More than Done - Saturday, April 20, 2019

John 19:30 (NIV84)

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“Finished!” the young boy yells to his mom as he slams his math notebook closed and heads outside to play with his friends! “Finished!” says the couple as they send in their tax returns and breathe a sigh of relief. There is something really satisfying about being finished, whether that’s with homework or taxes. There is relief and release when you reach that moment that you can say, “Finished!”

From his cross and with his dying breath Jesus said, “It is finished!” That three-word phrase is actually just a single word in the Greek text of John 19:30, the Greek word: ‘tetelestai’ (pronounced ‘te-tel-e-sty’). When Jesus utters, “tetelestai,” he is expressing more than just relief and release.

To deepen your appreciation for the full significance of what Jesus said with his dying breath, consider these examples of several different ways that the word “tetelestai” could have been used in Greco-Roman culture during Jesus’ days. [1]

  • A servant who completed an assigned task might notify his master, saying, “Tetelestai!” “I have completed what you told me to do!”

  • When presiding over a case and rendering a ruling, a judge could have said “Tetelestai!” The point? “Justice has been served!”

  • A priest might say to a person offering a sacrifice before God that their sacrifice is Tetelestai! What the priest means is that the sacrifice met the requirements of the laws of God.

  • When a customer paid off their invoice, a merchant might have stamped the bill with the word Tetelestai! The purpose? The word verifies: "the debt has been paid."

  • When routing an enemy, a soldier might have said “Tetelestai!” announcing to his adversary, "You are finished!"

Jesus, the Suffering Servant, cried, “Tetelestai!” announcing to all that He has finished the work of salvation assigned to him by the Father. Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, cried, “Tetelestai!” to proclaim that God’s wrath against all human sin has been justly satisfied. Jesus, our Great High Priest, uttered, “Tetelstai!” affirming his sacrifice for us has met the requirements of divine law and is acceptable to Heavenly Father. Jesus, our Gracious Benefactor, paid our debt in full. Jesus, God’s Army of One, cried, “Tetelestai!” It is his victory cry, announcing Satan’s defeat! Thank God for Christ’s “Tetelestai!” It is Jesus’ cry that our salvation… “It is finished!”

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, You finished for me what I could never have accomplished. You paid for me what I could never afford. You satisfied for me what I could never have made right. You met the standard which I so often fall so far short of. And you conquered the enemy that I have been so powerless against. For your finished work for me, Lord Jesus, I offer my life, my heart, my all in praise and thankful service to you! Amen.

[1] https://carm.org/devotion-it-is-finished