Keith Chandler, Journey Christian Church
(I will continue my series “Encountering the Real Jesus” next month. I hope you will read it) The greatest statement ever said is only three words in the English when Jesus said, “It is finished!” Rather than it being a whimper of a dying martyr who was exhausted, discouraged, and defeated, Jesus shouts! “It is finished.”
Read John 19:28-30
When Jesus said “It is finished” he was saying, “The work I was sent to do is finished!”
The word phrase “It is finished,” in Greek is one word: tetelestai. There are about six or seven different usages of this word, and every one of them gives us a facet of what Jesus did for us (It’s like looking at a diamond from different angles).
What did Jesus accomplish on the cross? “Tetelestai” was an artist’s term. When an artist was completing a painting, and made the last brush stroke they’d say, “Tetelestai It is finished. The picture is perfect!”
When Jesus said, “It is finished,”
1. He fulfilled Scripture.
Jesus fulfilled over 380 prophecies spread over thousands of years. Throughout the Old Testament, we get a partial glimpse of what God’s going to do. The pieces of the puzzle are there. Jesus comes along and completes the picture, and then he explains its meaning. He finished the work of salvation that the Father sent him to do.
2. He satisfied the law.
The word “tetelestai” was also a judicial term used by the courts. Judges would stamp it on prison sentences that had been commuted. When a prisoner had served his time and paid this debt to society and made restitution, the judge would stamp on his prison sentence “tetelestai.” It meant justice has been served.
It’s finished. Justice has been served, the sentence has been completed. What the law required, I’ve done for you. What does the law require? The Bible says the penalty for sin is death.
In the Old Testament, there were three kinds of law. There’s legal law for the nation of Israel. There was moral law which applies to everybody (like the Ten Commandments)
And there was ceremonial law which is for the priests of the sacrificial system.
When Jesus ended the law, he didn’t end the moral law. He ended the ceremonial law and legal law (that’s why we don’t follow those laws).
Leviticus says you’re supposed to do this and this, and wear this kind of clothes. Those are ceremonial laws. That stuff is out of date now. That was part of the symbolism of the coming Messiah and now Jesus says, “I’m here! That’s expired. You don’t have to pay attention to the ceremonial law.” Does that make sense?
He’s not saying you’re free to go out and break the moral law. Murder is still murder. Adultery is still adultery. But he’s saying all of those laws in the Old Testament that were ceremonial and legal have ended. Aren’t you glad? When Jesus says, “It is finished,” he’s saying, “I painted the picture.” It’s complete. I’ve fulfilled all of the law and prophecies and promises. I’ve satisfied the law, those rules and regulations are behind you.
3. He paid my penalty. The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.
Colossians 1:14 says, “God’s Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven.” They’re paid in full.
Some Christians believe before Jesus can come back, the Temple in Jerusalem has to be rebuilt so the sacrificial system can be started again. The Bible says there’s no need to offer any more sacrifices. It doesn’t have to be rebuilt, because the sacrificial system is dead. And to restart it would be to say Jesus didn’t do enough. He didn’t pay in full. Once it’s paid in full there’s no need to ever offer any more sacrifices. This battle cry of the ages has two implications.
4. He conquered sin and death.
Two very important verses, Romans 5:17 and Romans 6:10. We just talked about the penalty of sin, but he also defeated the power of sin. That means when I invite Jesus into my life, I get a new power to stop doing things I can’t stop doing on my own. When Jesus gives us power over sin, he gives us an ability to say no to things we previously couldn’t say no to. He gives us supernatural ability.
5. He defeated Satan.
When Jesus said “It is finished,” a cosmic war was being played out between Satan and the Son of God. From our standpoint, it looked like Satan had won. Three days later, Jesus arises from the grave and says “I’m back!” and Satan was finished. Satan’s death warrant has been signed. It’s finished! He can’t accuse me. “It is finished” are the most important words you will ever hear in your life. When you get discouraged, remember what’s already been done.
There’s nothing you can do to earn your salvation. The difference between what Jesus came to do and all other religions can be summed up in two letters. Every other religion has two letters – D-O.
Our faith adds two more letters – D-O-N-E. Finished.
I don’t have to do anything. “It is finished!” All we do is what the Bible says, is trust him.
Come celebrate with us on Easter Sunday what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
Until next month,
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