It Is Finished
“After this, Jesus knew that everything had been done. So that the Scripture would come true, he said, ‘I am thirsty’ . . . When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and died” (John 19:28, 30 NCV).
The only person ever to finish everything he had on his plate before he died was Jesus.
In John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do” (CEV).
Fortunately for you and me, Jesus did finish the work God gave him. Right before Jesus died on the cross on the first Good Friday, the Bible says, “After this, Jesus knew that everything had been done. So that the Scripture would come true, he said, ‘I am thirsty’ . . . When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and died” (John 19:28, 30 NCV).
When Jesus says, “It is finished,” it was a shout of victory. The phrase actually is a single word in the original Greek: tetelestai. It was a very common word in ancient Greek society with many meanings. When Jesus said these words on the cross, he was referring to each of the meanings:
- It was used by servants and employees who return to their master with news they had finished the task. Jesus had finished the task God had given him.
- It’s a legal term judges would use to announce that a prisoner had completely served his prison time. Jesus made sure that justice had been served for our sin.
- It was an accounting term meaning a debt had been paid in full. Jesus completely paid our debt.
- Artists used the term when painting a picture to denote their final stroke. Jesus’ sacrifice finished God’s great masterpiece by making it possible for the pinnacle of his creation—us—to be redeemed from our sin.
- Priests used the term when they offered a sacrifice to God to say, “The sacrifice has been made.” Jesus’ death on the cross was the sacrifice for our sin.
That one single word is what separates Christianity from every other religion on the planet. All other religions are about what you need to do to be right with God.
Jesus says, “It is finished.” You don’t need to do anything to have access to God. He’s done everything! You just need to trust him.
Talk It Over
How does knowing Jesus has finished the most important work for you change how you view the tasks in front of you today?
Of the five meanings of the word tetelestai, which one is most important to you personally? Why?
What can we know about God’s character by the fact that he made a way for us to salvation that didn’t cost us anything?
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This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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