John 19:30. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It is finished. One single Greek word – Tetelestai. It is covered. Satisfied. Paid for. The word tetelestai has been found by archaeologists to be stamped on bills when they had been paid. In the center of this word is the word telos. End. Goal. Purpose. Jesus’ last words on the cross are a declaration that not only is his crucifixion over, but that his crucifixion is the consummation of all God’s work. That may sound like an overstatement, but it’s not. Let’s consider together all that the cross of Christ brings to completion:
- The revelation of God – there is no further revelation of God’s life and character beyond the cross.
- The work of God – there is no work of God in the Christian life beyond the cross.
- The mission of Christ – there is no other work for Jesus to accomplish beyond the cross.
- All prophecy – every prophetic utterance in the Old Testament has lead us to the cross.
- The law – the cross satisfies all the law’s requirements placed on man, and all the curses for failure that come with it, thus nullifying any hope that it might save us.
- Justice – the cross satisfies all of God’s divine justice.
- Death – in Christ’s dying death is defeated.
- Sin’s penalty – the cross pays the penalty for all sin.
- Sin’s power – the cross crucifies the old nature in us.
- The Devil – the cross secures his ultimate demise.
- The righteousness of mankind – by the cross our unrighteousness may be exchanged for Christ’s imputed perfect righteousness.
- The salvation of man – by the cross we are rescued out from eternal death and separation from God.
- The reconciliation of man to God – the cross restores our relationship to the Father, making us sons and daughters of God.
- The sanctification of mankind – by the finished work of the cross we are daily and progressively sanctified into the cruciform life.
- The end of all striving – the cross removes all works, all performing, all trying to make my own way to God and his mercy.
- The unification of humanity in the church – the cross has torn down the divisions within humanity allowing the reconciliation of all mankind in Christ’s Body.
- The Abrahamic Covenant – by the cross all nations will be blessed in Christ.
- The Davidic Covenant – by the cross Jesus will ascend to the throne of Israel (humanity).
- The kingdom of God – the cross of Christ establishes the kingdom of God spiritually in our hearts and one day physically on earth.
- The new creation – the cross brings an end to the old order of creation and makes alive the new creation in us today.
- The cross ends all hopelessness.
- The cross ends all joylessness.
- The cross ends all faithlessness.
- The cross ends all hate.
- The cross ends all bitterness.
- The cross ends all guilt.
- The cross ends all shame.
- The cross ends all fear.
If there is one word spoken in human history that carries the greatest weight it must be this one – Tetelestai. By it Christ died, and by it we live. By it we live confidently each day knowing that the good work begun in us is finished.
“To live is Christ” means there is nothing left for God to do. No greater work than the work already accomplished by your union with the cross. No further blessing than the blessing of Christ’s death. Nothing else to trust in, look for, commit to, or figure out. No gift, no sacrifice, no effort, no deed can add to the finished work of the cross of Christ. By the cross we stand justified, sanctified, glorified NOW. Our future is today. Our living is the cross of Christ. And our dying is gain.
Can you identify ways that you are still working for your salvation?
You in Christ
What does “it is finished” mean to you?
Christ in you
How might “it is finished” change what you do today? Might it allow you to rest a bit?
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