When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30).
After Jesus received the drink of wine vinegar, he uttered the words “It is finished.” In the original Greek, the word is tetelestai; and it means, “It is finished and always will be finished!”
Warren Wiersbe comments: “The word tetelestai is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life in those days. A servant would use it when reporting to his or her master, “I have completed the work assigned to me” (see John 17:4). When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, this word would apply. Jesus, of course, is the perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish. When an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, he or she might say, ‘It is finished!’ The death of Jesus on the cross ‘completes the picture’ that God had been painting, the story that He had been writing, for centuries. Because of the cross, we understand the ceremonies and prophecies in the Old Testament.”
The Greek word translated as “finished” was also used by merchants, and in that context, it means, “it’s been paid in full.” Perhaps you’ve had the experience of going out to eat and having someone pay the bill for you. When that happens, there is nothing more for you to do. Once the owed amount has been paid, the best response is to be thankful!
The Bible says that God is holy and each one of us falls short of his standard of perfection. That is why Christ had to come, to pay the penalty for our sins. The price has been paid in full, and now, we just have to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus provides.
The truth is, God initiated the Old Testament sacrificial system so people could be forgiven, but the blood of slain animals could never take away sins (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:24-28). Those sacrifices weren’t a permanent solution to the sin problem. Jesus taught that human beings are more valuable to God than sheep. Only the “precious blood of Jesus, a lamb without blemish or defect” was valuable enough to once-and-for-all pay the penalty for our sin and for all of humanity (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Sin is like a debt we owe to God and couldn’t repay. Jesus, the sinless one, paid our debt in full and there’s nothing we can add to it or take away from it. His sacrificial death was complete. It is finished!
You are a holy God and we stand in awe of you today. What a joy it is to know that your work on the cross is successfully completed. The price has been paid for our redemption and freedom. We praise you God and look forward to the day when you will finish the work of raising up a church that is a true reflection of your Son.
In the days to come, what kind of growth or transformation would you want God to do in your life?