It Is Finished
“Teleo” is a common Greek New Testament verb that means, “I complete, I accomplish, I finish, I carry out a task.” It’s often used in reference to a religious obligation. “Tetelestai” shares the same root word, is a verb in the perfect tense and passive voice. Perfect tense means the action is completed and has continuing results into the future. Passive voice indicates the subject of the verb has been acted upon.
So what’s the point of this Greek lesson for Good Friday? “Tetelestai” is the word we find in John 19:30 from the lips of Jesus, translated “It is finished!”
Bishop J.C. Ryle said of “tetelestai”: “It stands in majestic simplicity, without note or comment from John … and is the most remarkable of all the seven sayings of Christ from the Cross with unfathomable depths of meaning.”
What did He mean?
One, His work of Law keeping was finished. He had completed a life of perfection, lived out in faith, under the Law of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Martin Luther said of this verse: “Christ is the end of the Law. What it requires, Christ has performed.”
Two, the will of God concerning Christ mission to earth was finished. He had come to show the Father’s works and speak His words, to reveal God to man and to accomplish a plan entrusted to Him by His Father. He had prayed in agony hours before, “Not My will but Your will be done.”
Three, the types, shadows and figures of ceremonial Law were finished. The Old Covenant ceremonies of priests and sacrifices would no longer be needed. He fulfilled them all. The Passover Lamb had been slain.
Four, all the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ up to this point were finished. From the bruising of the serpent’s head in Gen. 3:15 to the offer of cheap wine brought on by “I thirst” to fulfill Psalm 69:21, all relevant prophecies were fulfilled, to the letter!
All of these could have been on the mind of Christ. But with absolute certainty we know that upon the moment of His death, at that precise instance in the history of the world, the work of our redemption was finished!
He didn’t say “It is started.” He didn’t say, “It is half way done if you will add your works to it.” He didn’t say, “You will need to reenact this event over and over again.” He said, “It (redemption) is finished!”
But how did He say it? This is likely the loud cry just before death that is mentioned in Mat. 27:50. Our Champion raised His voice and shouted a war cry of victory, defying the ranks of Satan and winning the war for man’s soul.
This was no moan of despair or defeat. It was no sigh of resignation to the prospect of death . This was the cry of the Victor that echoes down the corridors of time to comfort believers still today.
We can’t add to this finished work. We can’t possibly reenact it. Praise God, there is no need. Simply turn away from your sins against God, turn away from trusting in self or man-made religions and look only to the Jesus Christ of the Bible, crucified for your sins, buried and risen from the dead. It really is finished!
Put aside all vain thoughts that God will accept you because of your baptism or church attendance or good deeds or faith of your parents. “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Why? Because “It is finished!”
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Unless otherwise noted, all posts are written by Pastor Chris McKnight