When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit
- John 19:30
Last words are important. None are more important than the one word Jesus spoke right before he died— “Tetelestai.”
“Tetelestai” literally means “it is finished.”
With His death, Jesus finished something. What is He finishing? First, Jesus is finishing the task for which He came into the world. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus is finishing the work of fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies of a Savior who would die for our sins.
Jesus is the seed of the woman who is now crushing the head of the serpent (Genesis 3: 15).
Jesus is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
Jesus’ “heart is like wax— it is melted. His strength is dried up like a potsherd, and His tongue cleaves to my jaws; He has been laid in the dust of death (Psalm 22:12-18).”
Jesus is finishing the work of fulfilling the many Old Testament types of His sacrifice.
Jesus is finishing the Passover Lamb's work in Egypt, whose blood would protect them from the Angel of Death.
Jesus is finishing the work of the two goats of the Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, ritual. Jesus is the sacrificial goat who was slain for sinners. He is the scapegoat who carried away the sins of the people.
Most importantly, Jesus is finishing the work of purchasing our salvation.
- With His death, Jesus purchases our peace – no more enmity with God.
- With His death, Jesus purchases our pardon – no more guilty stains.
- With His death, Jesus purchases our paternity – no longer spiritual orphans; now we are children of God.
All of this, Jesus finished when He breathed His last. What an incredible moment when Jesus says, “Tetelestai!”
Last words are very important.
But there is one more interesting nuance about the word “tetelestai.”
Grammatically, Jesus is speaking in the perfect tense. “Tetelestai” in the Greek carries the nuance of completed action with continuing results!
His job is done. Prophecy is fulfilled. Salvation is purchased. His work is complete, “It is finished.” And yet, He lives today, bringing the results of His work to you.
Pardon is yours.
Peace is yours.
Adoption is yours.
A continual result stemming from a finished work. Turns out, “tetelestai” isn't the last word after all.
Your prayer this morning, “God, it is finished. On the cross, you put away my sin and shame. Thank you Lord.”