Christianity began with a declaration by Jesus on the Cross at Calvary,
“Jesus knew that his mission was now finished … he said, it is finished! Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30 (abridged)In that moment Jesus launched the redemption of the world past and future. He gave you and me hope, freedom, acceptance, faith, joy, forgiveness, salvation, power, eternal life and the favor of our Father in Heaven! At that moment God exploded his presence across the vastness of space and earth and into our hearts.
In Hebrew Jesus spoke just one word, “Tetelestai.” That word is translated into three words in English, “It is finished”. But that one word is packed with profound meaning and depth.
At the same moment that Jesus spoke these words on a rugged cross above a dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the High Priest in the Temple at the center of the city was sacrificing the lamb on the Day of Atonement.
When the spotless lamb was sacrificed every year on this same day the priest, having completed his work, would appear to the gathered crowd and shout, “Tetelestai!” It is finished. The sacrifice for the sins of the nation was finished and accepted by God. It was a time of rejoicing for all that were present.
Jesus, as the spotless lamb of God, spoke that exact word, at the same time. Finished, completed, accepted. A time to rejoice.
In daily life, that word was also used to refer to debts that were paid. When a man finished paying a debt that debt instrument would have stamped on it, “Tetelestai” meaning the debt had been paid in full. Jesus paid our debt for sin and redeemed us to the freedom of eternal life, with no debt to death.
This word was also spoken by craftsmen and artists as they would complete a special work of art or construction. They would stand back and say, “Tetelestai” meaning it is fully complete. The artist meant nothing needed to be added to the beauty of his art. The craftsman meant nothing needed to be fixed or repaired – it was fully complete and ready for use. The assignment was complete.
Mission accomplished. Jesus had a mission – he started his ministry reading from Isaiah,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. Luke 4:18He finished it all. Completed his mission. Debt paid. Nothing to be added or fixed.
Our confidence in Christ is because he finished it all. We are redeemed, forgiven, free and completed in him.
We are also men on a mission.
To carry this Good News to the men of the world.
Let us continue with vigorous determination – let’s finish our mission.
Happy Easter! Tetelestai!
Grace and peace.
Your friend, brother, and ally.
P.S. Join me for a powerful conversation with Bishop Mark Chironna today at 11:30 am ET/ 10:30 am CT on Facebook - Paul Louis Cole