Amplified: When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: So when Jesus had taken the wine he said, "All is done". And with his head bent he gave up his spirit.
CEV: After Jesus drank the wine, he said, "Everything is done!" He bowed his head and died.
ESV: When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
KJV: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
NET: So when he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, "It is completed," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
NJB: After Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is fulfilled'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
Wuest: Then when Jesus received the sour wine He said, It has been finished and stands complete. And having bowed His head, He delivered up the spirit. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: when, therefore, Jesus received the vinegar, he said, 'It hath been finished;' and having bowed the head, gave up the spirit.
Latin Vulgate: cum ergo accepisset Iesus acetum dixit consummatum est (It is consummated!) et inclinato capite tradidit spiritum
THEREFORE WHEN JESUS HAD RECEIVED THE SOUR WINE, HE SAID "IT IS FINISHED!": hote oun elaben (3SAAI) to oxos (o) Iesous eipen (3SAAI): tetelestai (3SRPI): (Jn 19:28, 4:34 17:4 Ge 3:15 Ps 22:15 Isa 53:10,12 Da 9:24,26 Zec 13:7 Mt 3:15 Ro 3:25 10:4 1Co 5:7 Col 2:14-17 Heb 9:11, 12, 13,14,22-28 Heb 10:1-14 12:2)
Hark! the voice of love and mercy
Sounds aloud from Calvary;
See, it rends the rocks asunder,
Shakes the earth, and veils the sky:
“It is finished!” “It is finished!”
“It is finished!” Hear the dying Savior cry;
Hear the dying Savior cry.
Therefore - A term of conclusion which in this context announces the most profound conclusion ever uttered "It is Finished!"
John records Jesus' declaration of His goal early in His ministry …
In His high priestly prayer just prior to Calvary Jesus declared…
Jesus' declaration "It is finished" is the postscript which sums up the progression from John 4:34 to John 17:4. Andrew Murray comments…
A T Robertson…
Regarding "It is finished", most agree that this was the 6th of Jesus' seven last words on the Cross -
It is finished ( 5055 ) (tetelestai) is a single Greek verb teleo (see word study). and means that something is brought to an end, is fully accomplished, has achieved its destined goal or is brought to perfection. Indeed, all of these senses apply to Jesus' death on the Cross, but one sense of tetelestai presents a powerful picture of Jesus' finished work on the Cross, the grand work of redemption about which He Himself had "prophesied"…
A W Pink wrote that…
John MacArthur writes that It is Finished…
Andrew Murray writes that…
Tetelestai was used in several ways in Jesus' day. A servant would use tetelestai when reporting to his or her master, “I have completed the work assigned to me” (cp Jesus words on His "work" in Jn 4:34,17:4) Jesus had brought to completion all the Father had desired for Him to accomplish as the God Man. When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, it was described as tetelestai. Jesus, of course, is the perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish (1Pe 1:18, 19-note). When an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, they might say, “It is finished!” The death of Jesus on the cross “completes the picture” that God had been painting of "redemption" which God had painted from eternity past (cp 2Ti 1:9NIV-note, Ep 3:11-note, Titus 1:2-note, 1Peter 1:20-note).
Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished," was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Perhaps the meaning that Jesus had foremost in His mind when He uttered the word tetelestai was related to its secular use in the context of payment of debts. When someone had a debt in ancient times and it was paid off, they would write "tetelestai" on the certificate signifying "Paid in Full". When He gave Himself on the cross, Jesus fully met the righteous demands of a holy law; He paid our debt in full. None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins. Their blood only covered sin. But the Lamb of God shed His blood, (for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, Heb 9:15-note) and that blood (and only that blood) can take away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29; He 9:24-note, He 9:25, 26-note, He 9:27, 28-note).
Calvary’s mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!” hear Him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die.
There is another sense in which tetelestai was used in the ancient world. When a Roman citizen was convicted of a crime, the law of that day slammed him in prison. They prepared a "Certificate of Debt" that listed all the crimes he was convicted of on it, and nailed it to his cell door for all to see. It remained nailed there so all would be assured that he served his full sentence, and "paid in full" the penalty ("debt owed") for his crimes. When Jesus shouted "Tetelestai" from the cross, it was a very familiar phrase to those within the sound of His voice. It was the same word that would be stamped across the Certificate of Debt after a criminal completed his prison term. It would literally mean "Paid in Full" for all your crimes. Then the criminal was given the certificate. He would be able to produce it to show that his crimes were "paid in full." He could never become a victim of "double jeopardy" (paying for the same crime twice - cp the result in Ro 8:1-note = No Condemnation and Ro 8:39-note = No Separation). This is a beautiful picture of what Christ did on the Cross, Paul recording (quoting the original version of the NLT) that…
Finally, there is one other truth about tetelestai that is notable - it is in the perfect tense, a tense which is identifies a past completed action (or event) with continuing effects or results. In context the perfect tense clearly speaks of the past, historical reality of the Crucifixion of Christ, and the fact that His death on the Cross has permanent effects which ultimately will last throughout eternity! All that truth with one Greek tense! Beloved our Kinsman-Redeemer's ransom payment is sufficient for this life and the life to come! Let us live in the power of the Cross (1Co 1:18 where "being saved" is in the present tense indicating that believers are continually being saved every day of their life (also implying that in one sense we need His saving power to live the "victorious Christian life" day by day, even moment by moment! cp Mt 26:41, Gal 5:16-note, Gal 5:17-note). We have been saved [justification]. We are being saved [sanctification], We will be saved [glorification] - see discussion of Three Tenses of Salvation)
Frank Boreham writes that tetelestai
J C Ryle on "It is Finished"…
F F Bruce comments on the significance of "It is Finished"…
Wycliffe Bible Commentary…
A C Gaebelein…
Leon Morris comments
S Lewis Johnson has succinctly said that Christ’s resurrection…
William Harris… commenting on the completeness of the Cross observes
Explore the Bible…
S Lewis Johnson…
Alan Carr on It is Finished…
John Butler sums up "It is finished"…
“It is Finished.’
A W Pink…
Paul Apple on John 19:30…
Grover Gunn asks…
F B Meyer's devotional on John 19:30…
Leonard Ravenhill said of John 19:30
The evangelist Alexander Wooten was approached by a young man who asked,
The young man became alarmed asking.
Rich Cathers offers the following lesson related to Jesus' cry "It is Finished"…
PAID IN FULL (Colossians 2:14) - The newspaper article reported that a Utah businessman had filed for bankruptcy and declared his debts to be $613 billion. It seemed ridiculous! What's more, the man claimed assets of only $7,310. In other words, if all debts were honored, his creditors would receive about one-millionth of a cent on the dollar. There was no way he could begin to pay his debts.
DONE! So many of our hopes and dreams remain unfulfilled. Composer Franz Schubert departed this world leaving behind his "Unfinished Symphony." Similarly, prolific author Charles Dickens was unable to fully develop the plot of his novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
We too undoubtedly have aspirations that we will be unable to fulfill. But what a blessing to know that the work of our redemption was totally and perfectly accomplished by Jesus on the cross.
The last words of Jesus, "It is finished," are actually a single word in the original language (John 19:30). But that word holds oceans of meaning. What Jesus gasped was "Completed!" or "Ended!" That cry from the cross announced that not only had His suffering come to an end but also His redemptive work was eternally accomplished. All that He had come to achieve in His human life was finished. Done!
We can do nothing to add to His sacrifice. Christ's self-giving death was all-sufficient. We stretch out the empty hand of faith, and God in grace puts into it the gift of eternal life.
Have you stretched out your hand of faith to receive this gift? — Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
"It is finished," Jesus cried,
Christ's sacrifice was what God desired
HE IS ENOUGH - Sometimes we are overwhelmed by life. The crushing waves of disappointment, endless debt, debilitating illness, or trouble with people can cause hopelessness, depression, or despair. It happened to Jesus’ disciples. And it has happened to me.
Three statements by the Lord beginning with the words “It is … ” offer us comfort, reassurance, and hope that Jesus is enough. The first is in Matthew 4 and is repeated three times: “It is written” (vv.4,7,10). In responding to the three temptations of Satan, Jesus gave us proof enough that the Word of God is true and overcomes the most powerful forms of temptation and pressure.
The second statement, “It is I” (Matt. 14:27), was spoken when Jesus told His terrified disciples that He Himself was presence enough to stop the howling storm and calm the raging seas.
Jesus spoke the third “It is” from the cross: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). He assured us that His death was provision enough to pay the debt for our sins and set us free.
Whatever our circumstances, Jesus is present with His love, compassion, and grace. He is proof, presence, and provision enough to carry us safely through. — David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
FINISHED! - Outside Madrid stands an ancient monastery where the kings of Spain have been buried. The architect designed an elongated arch so flat that the reigning monarch insisted it could not hold the structure above it.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it!
ADDING TO A MASTERPIECE - Could you improve on a masterpiece? Imagine that you are walking through the Louvre museum in Paris. As you approach the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, would you think about taking a palette and brushes and touching up the painting? Maybe put some more color in her cheeks? Perhaps change her nose a little?
Christ's work for my salvation is complete!
Spurgeon commenting on Jn 19:30 said…
Octavius Winslow devotional…
John Flavel on John 19:30…
AND HE BOWED HIS HEAD AND GAVE UP HIS SPIRIT: kai klinas (AAPMSN) ten kephalen paredoken (3SAAI) to pneuma: (Jn 10:11,18 Mt 20:28 27:50 Mk 15:37 Lk 23:46 Php 2:8 Heb 2:14,15 )
Bernard notes that…
Luke records the purportedly the very last words of Jesus on the Cross…
Bowed His head - Same Greek words (klinas ten kephalen) in a different context in Mt 8:20 (ten kephalen klino) and Lk 9:58 (ten kephalen klino). No place to lay His head in life, but finally a resting place for His head on the Cross! His word was done.
Vine comments this does not refer to
Klino is the root of ekklino (ek = out + klino = to lean) which literally means to lean out and thus to turn aside or deviate from the right (righteous) way (as in Ro 3:12-note). The Greek word for bed is kline which is derived from klino (to recline). Wavering (in He 10:23-note) is the Greek aklines derived from "a" (when prefixed to a word a makes it mean the opposite to what it meant originally) plus klino “to lean towards”.
In the OT (Septuagint), klino is often used of a prayer to God to "Incline His ear". It is used figuratively of inclining one's heart (Ps 119:36, 112 - see below for Spurgeon's exposition) and for God turning the hearts of kings (Pr 21:1).
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon…
Klino is used 7x in 7v -
Klino - 45x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Judg 7:5, 6; 9:3; 19:8; 1 Sam 4:2; 14:32; 2 Sam 19:14; 22:10; 1 Kgs 2:28; 2 Kgs 19:16; 20:10; Ezra 7:28; 9:5, 9; Job 38:37; Ps 17:6; 18:9; 21:11; 31:2; 45:10; 46:6; 49:4; 62:3; 71:2; 75:8; 78:1; 86:1; 88:2; 102:2, 11; 104:5; 116:2; 119:36, 112; 144:5; Prov 21:1; Isa 24:20; 33:23; Jer 6:4; 17:22; 34:14; 35:15; 44:5; 48:12; Zech 14:4.
Here are a few uses of klino in the Septuagint…
Bowed His head and gave up His Spirit - When? When the work the Father had given Him to accomplish had been accomplished. His life was not taken from Him, but He made a volitional choice to give it up, just as He had predicted (notice the repetition) earlier declaring…
Gave up His spirit - The synoptic gospels say…
Warren Wiersbe emphasizes the point that…
Henry Morris has an interesting comment on "bowed his head" observing that
Gave up (Delivered, committed, entrusted, handed over) (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another.
Constable notes that normally
Paul uses paradidomi in describing Jesus' sacrificial death in his place…
William Harris has a somewhat unusual interpretation commenting that Gave up His spirit…
A W Pink…
R A Culpepper (in Faith and Mission, Spring, 1988 - The Death Of Jesus: An Exegesis of Jn 19:28-37 [$ but this gives access to 1000's of conservative journal articles online]) explains John's words "gave up His spirit" this way…
Breath on me, Breath of God,
|Matthew Henry's Unabridged Commentary on John 19:30…
1. What he said, and we may suppose him to say it with triumph and exultation, Tetelestai- It is finished, a comprehensive word, and a comfortable one.
2. What he did: He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. He was voluntary in dying; for he was not only the sacrifice, but the priest and the offerer; and the animus offerentis-the mind of the offerer, was all in all in the sacrifice. Christ showed his will in his sufferings, by which will we are sanctified.
|Charles Simeon (See fascinating Dr John Piper's biography of this great saint) Sermon…
CHRIST’S WORK FINISHED
THESE, with the exception of the words with which our blessed Lord commended his spirit into his Father’s hands, were the last words which he spake, previous to his dissolution. In the original, they are comprehended in one word (tetelestai): and since the foundation of the world there never was a single word uttered, in which such diversified and important matter was contained. Every word indeed that proceeded from our Saviour’s lips deserves the most attentive consideration: but this eclipses all. To do justice to it, is beyond the ability of men or angels: its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, are absolutely unsearchable. But that its import may be somewhat more clearly seen, we propose to shew,
I. The truths contained in it—
Our blessed Lord not having expressly stated what he alluded to as finished, we are left to gather his meaning from a general view of that work which he came to accomplish. We understand then, that when he uttered this word, the following things were finished:
1. The fulfilment of prophecy—
[Prophecy was of two kinds, one consisting of typical institutions, the other of positive declarations. Now both these kinds of prophecy received their accomplishment in the death of Christ.
The brazen serpent, the daily sacrifice, the burning of the flesh of the sin-offerings without the camp, with various other ordinances, shadowed forth the death of Christ by crucifixion without the walls of Jerusalem; and at that moment, when our Lord was about to resign his spirit, were all fulfilled: for he was then “suffering without the gate;” (Heb. 13:11, 12) and was “lifted up, that all who believed in him might be healed” (John 3:14, 15) of their wounds; and was “the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
The declarations of the prophets were so numerous and minute, that a history of our Lord might be compiled from them, fuller, in many respects, than is contained in any one of the Evangelists. The person that betrayed him, the manner in which his trial should be conducted, the sufferings he should undergo previous to the final execution of his sentence, the death to which he should be doomed, the persons in whose company he should suffer, the manner in which his clothes should be disposed of, the very taunts with which he should be insulted in his dying hour, were all fulfilled as exactly, as if the agents in this bloody tragedy had designed to accomplish the predictions concerning him. There remained only one single prophecy to be fulfilled: and who would have conceived that ever that should be fulfilled? It was customary for the friends of the persons who were executed to give them “wine mingled with myrrh,” in order to blunt the edge of their sufferings: and the friends of our Lord had offered him such a potion; but he would not drink of it, because he would do nothing that should have a tendency to diminish his sufferings (Mark 15:23): but when, in his last moments, he said, “I thirst,” the cruel soldiers, wishing only to mock him, and augment his anguish (Luke 23:36), dipped a spunge in vinegar, and gave him that to drink; and thus fulfilled that prophecy of David, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps. 69:21). This done, no other prophecy remained to be fulfilled; and therefore our Lord instantly said, “It is finished.”]
2. The work of Redemption—
[Two things were undertaken by our Lord, and were to be done by him in order to man’s redemption; the penalties of the law were to be endured by him, in order that Divine justice might be satisfied for our sins; and the demands of the law mere to be obeyed by him, in order that sinners, who could have no righteousness of their own, might be made righteous in him. Both these things were now completed. Our blessed Lord had obeyed the law in its fullest extent: not the smallest defect could be found in him: man could find none; Satan could find none; God himself could find none: for “he did always the things that pleased the Father;” and “in him was no sin.” By his obedience, the law, which we had violated, was “magnified and made honourable:” and “a righteousness was brought in,” a righteousness which shall be unto all and upon all them that believe, and which is amply sufficient for the justification of all who trust in it. Moreover all was now endured that was necessary to make an atonement for our sins. Did we deserve shame, and condemnation, and misery? did we deserve to have the face of God hid from us, and the vials of his wrath poured out upon us, and to be consigned over to everlasting death? All this he suffered, as far as was compatible with his nature, and as far as was necessary for the satisfaction of Divine justice. He was not indeed actually dead; but the moment was arrived for his surrendering up his life; and therefore he could properly say, “It is finished.”]
3. The salvation of man—
[All that was necessary for man’s salvation was now effected. Nothing remained to be done, in order to the perfecting of his work on earth, or to the forming of a perfect ground for man’s acceptance with God. It is true, that man must repent: but he need not to repent in order to make satisfaction for his sins: no repentance of man can add to the value of Christ’s sacrifice. Men must repent, in order to justify God in the denunciations of his wrath, and to evince their abhorrence of their past ways, and to bring their souls to a fit state for the enjoyment of God’s mercy: but to atone for sin, he needs not to repent: the offering of the body of Jesus Christ upon the cross is a sufficient propitiation for the sins of the whole world. It is true also, that man must obey: but he need not to obey in order to form for himself a justifying righteousness before God: he can never add to the perfection of Christ’s righteousness; and any attempt to add to it will defeat, instead of furthering, his acceptance through it. Whatever obedience men may render for the honouring of God, and the adorning of their profession, they must renounce it utterly in point of dependence, and must look for salvation solely through the righteousness of Christ (Php 3:9). Nothing remains for man but to accept the salvation which Christ has purchased: and if he be enabled in his last hour (like the dying thief) to rely on the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus, he shall as assuredly be saved, as if he had repented and obeyed a thousand years. We do not say this to lessen the importance of repentance and obedience (for in their proper place they are of infinite importance); but only to explain and vindicate our Lord’s assertion in the text.]
The meaning of our Lord’s declaration being ascertained, let us bring forth,
II. The truths to be deduced from it—
Selecting such inferences only as are most prominent, we observe,
1. That there is a sure ground of hope for all who feel their need of mercy—
[“If persons of a desponding frame would state what they could wish God to do for them, in order to remove their fears; we are well persuaded, not only that every thing they can desire has been already done, but that infinitely more has been done for them than they could even ask or think. Would they have an atonement made for their sins, even such an atonement as shall perfectly satisfy Divine justice, and discharge the utmost farthing of their debt? We must say to them, ‘It is done;’ “It is finished.” Would they have a perfect righteousness wrought out for them? Would they be invited and commanded by God himself to clothe themselves with it as a robe, so that not even the piercing eye of God should be able to behold a spot or blemish in them? “It is finished.” Would they have the gift of the Holy Spirit purchased for them, so that they may be assured of almighty aid in all their difficulties and conflicts! “It is finished.” Let them state what they will, (provided it be really calculated to inspire confidence, and suited to the condition of the Church militant,) and we do not hesitate to say respecting it, “It is finished.” Why then should any despond, as though their guilt were too great to be forgiven, or their corruptions too strong to be subdued? Let the humble and contrite only reflect on this dying declaration of our Lord, and they can never want encouragement to trust in him.]
2. That they in whom a good work is begun, have reason to hope that it shall be carried on and perfected to the day of Christ—
[The work of bringing sinners to repentance, and of renewing them after the Divine image, is committed to Christ. “He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.” In him, according to the Father’s appointment, all fulness dwells; and out of his fulness all his people are to receive the grace that shall be needful and sufficient for them. Now if in the arduous work which Christ undertook to do for men, he persisted till he could say, “It is finished;” why should he not do the same in the work that he has engaged to accomplish in them? If he stop short in this, it must be either from a want of power, or a want of inclination, to persist in it. But it cannot be from want of power; since it is surely an easier thing to preserve life than to give it; and therefore if he have given it, he cannot want power to maintain it. Nor can it be from a want of inclination; for, if he had not been carried on by an irresistible inclination to save us, he would not have persisted in his former work; he would have put away the bitter cup from his lips, instead of drinking it, as he did, to the very dregs. If therefore he drew not back in the former case, we may be sure he will not in this case: he will never cease from working effectually in us, till he can say, “It is finished.” That this deduction is clear and scriptural, we have very abundant evidence. The prophet declares, that “He who has laid the foundation of the spiritual temple, will also finish it:” and that he will bring forth the top-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, “Grace, grace, unto it.” On this account the Apostle also calls him, “The Author and Finisher of our faith;” and declares himself “confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun the good work, will perform it till the day of Christ.” (Phil. 1:6) Let believers then “cast their care on Him who careth for them,” and know assuredly, that “he will keep the feet of his saints, and “perfect that which concerneth them.”]
3. That those who have obtained mercy have the strongest possible incentive to maintain good works—
[We have before stated, that Christ has done every thing that was necessary for man’s salvation; and that nothing remains for man to add to the finished work of Christ. But we also noticed, that, though man has nothing to do for the purpose of meriting salvation, or for laying a foundation of his acceptance with God, yet in other points of view he has abundant occasion to work; yea, he is commanded to “work out his salvation with fear and trembling.” We have no other way of proving the truth of our faith, or the sincerity of our love, than by bringing forth the fruits of righteousness. Shall this then be thought a wearisome task by any of us? Shall we wish to intermit our labours, or to stop short of the highest attainments? Surely not: for if Christ finished the work assigned him, because of his love to us, we can do no less than persist in our work, whereby we are to evidence our love to him. Let us then “go on towards perfection:” let us “forget what is behind, and press forward towards that which is before:” let us “work while our day lasts;” that in the evening of our life we may be able to say with Christ, “Father, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do.” Then, while hypocrites and apostates shall take up this expression in reference to their hopes, of salvation, and say, “My day of grace is finished, and all possibility of obtaining mercy is finished;” we shall shout in heaven, “It is finished, it is finished!” “fears, temptations, conflicts, are all finished!” “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith;” and nothing now remains to me but an eternity of uninterrupted happiness and glory.] (Simeon, C. 1832-63. Horae Homileticae Vol. 14: John XIII to Acts)
"It is finished!" (John 19:30). I have listened today in thought, at the Holy Table of Communion, to this victorious cry. Glorious is the fulfillment of the prophetic words—"He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." A FINISHED work—and so finished and completed, that, in the retrospect, the divine-human lips could say with complacency, yes proclaim with unhesitating triumph, "I am satisfied!" Satisfied!—It was the very dignity and divinity of the majestic Speaker, which gave such singular meaning and emphasis to the assertion. The higher our aim, the more refined and elevated our views and attainments—the less are we satisfied with our own ideals. A little thing will satisfy a little mind. It requires a great thing to satisfy a great mind. The child is satisfied with a toy or bauble; the savage with the trinket—the gaudy bead, or piece of painted glass—while the civilized and educated art, in very proportion to their culture, fastidious—swift to detect the literary blemish, or the faulty note in music; or the crude touch of color on the picture—the flaw in the otherwise breathing marble. What pleases the unlettered villager will look poor in the eyes of the man of science.
And so, the higher we ascend in the ranks of being. What must it require to satisfy the mind of an angel—what must it be to satisfy the mind of God? Him whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom—whose glory is set above the heavens—whose power is boundless, His wisdom infinite; His life-time eternity! Oh, what a work that must be, over which this all-wise and all-perfect Deity, in contemplating it, can say—'It is enough; I have reached my own divine Ideal. I am satisfied.' "Father, I have glorified You on the earth, I have finished the work You gave me to do!" In that moment of all moments, when His eyes were about to close in the sleep of death—a gleam of radiance breaks from His eclipsed soul. He could wish no more—the world's battle is won. With the smile of ineffable love and satisfaction on His lips, He cried, and cried "with a loud voice," as if He would wake the echo of all the ages, in order to proclaim the completion and the completeness of His victory—IT IS FINISHED!
"Satisfied"—"Finished"—blessed pillow for me to repose on in the retrospect of today! He has done all, and suffered all, and procured all for me. I see every attribute of the divine nature magnified. Justice exulting in the sublime vindication. Truth hastening to meet Mercy and Mercy meeting Righteousness. Let the rich man glory in his riches—let the strong man glory in his strength—let the wise man glory in his wisdom—but God forbid that I should glory, but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
One other thought occurs in my contemplation of that mystery of darkness—that superhuman soul-struggle; ending though it did in so triumphant a victory. Yet vain, surely, is the question that has been asked, 'Could not less have satisfied? Could not anguish less dreadful in its accompaniments have sufficed? Could none of the ignominy and agony of that bitter path and that bitter cross have been dispensed with?' The analogy of nature would seem to tell that there is no useless nor unnecessary expenditure of agency even in the smallest of the works of God. If it be so with the lowlier divine operations, much more may we conclude that there will be no superfluous or unnecessary agency demanded in 'the work of works,'—the work of Redemption. From the first pang of Bethlehem's Babe in the cradle, until the Great Surety trampled Satan under His bleeding feet on Calvary, all was necessary. There was not an unnecessary leaf in that chaplet of sorrow which the Man of Sorrows wore!
I have been testifying today, through these significant memorials, to the sufferings of Christ; let me connect them with the glory which is to follow—anticipating that everlasting communion Sabbath, when the sufferings and the glory shall be sung in one blended strain by the ransomed. I have heard the sound of the Bridegroom's feet today; I have listened to His festal summons to the Feast on earth; let me be so living, and walking, and watching, and working, that the great final cry and summons to the Festal Hall of heaven may be met with the glad response—"Lo, this is our God—we have waited for Him!" (PRIVATE MEDITATIONS AFTER COMMUNION)
|J. C. Hare writes…
The Cross, the Victory over Sin
C. S. Robinson, Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 204.
|The Pulpit Commentary…
THE FINISHED WORK
From the nature of the case this could not be more than a mere ejaculation; but the meaning is plain enough to those who wilt put their minds into a state to perceive it. Suppose you have a friend who is building a house. You had been present when the foundation was laid, and from time to time you had watched the progress of the building. At last your friend breaks in on you some morning with the cry, “It is finished!” You would know at once what he meant — that the house was finished. And your friend would presume on your part a real and lively interest in hearing the news. So too we must know a good deal of what Jesus said and did during life, or we shall fail in understanding what he said and did in the hour of death. He who said, “It is finished!” must also have had seasons in which he could say, “It is begun,” “It is going on.”
I. We must illustrate how JESUS LOOKED FORWARD TO A TIME FOR UTTERING THIS WORD. Recollect what he said to the disciples by the well: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Recollect also his word to the Jews after he bad healed the impotent man on the sabbath day. He speaks there concerning the works which the Father had given him to finish. Here are specimens of the peculiar and testifying works of Jesus. Here are declarations by Jesus himself of the uniting and definite purpose with which his life was bound up. What he talked of now and then he must have thought of continually. To the superficial eye, indeed, the life of Jesus did not look as if it had any definite purpose. How would he have been put down in the “occupation” column in a census record? Yet the life of Jesus was full of purpose — purpose never absent, never forgotten. The parable of the man who went away from home, leaving his money as a trust in the hands of his servants, is surely a parable out of the very depths of the Savior's own experience. To him there was given a stewardship of inestimable value. How the servant with the five talents would look forward to the surrender and accomplishment of his trust! And just in this spirit Jesus must have looked forward to the hour when he should be able to say, “It is finished!”
II. THUS IN THE INCARNATE LIFE OF JESUS WE HAVE SOMETHING COMPLETE FOR US TO PROFIT BY. Something complete! The life of Jesus was complete, just as the life of a seed becomes complete when it has gone through all the cycle of its changes — germination, budding, blossoming, formation of fruit, ripening of fruit. The very life of Jesus was a finished work. It was like a book on the last page of which “Finis “ could be truly written. Here is the book of a really complete human life. What a difference between Jesus and many authors and makers of finished things! Many complete things, things that the world is agreed in calling complete and precious in their own order, were achieved by very incomplete men. Read the words of Gibbon the historian, in which he records his emotions on completing his monumental work. He has succeeded, and yet in the bottom of his heart he has somehow failed. Thousands are finishing many things, but never touching the one thing needful. We, from our life's incompleteness, should look on the completeness of the life of Jesus, and, while we look, rise into that hope and confidence which his manifested completeness is meant to give. Here is One who lived out the life of humanity according to the ideal of him who made humanity. He never needed to pray,” Forgive me my debts;” for he never owed a debt he did not pay, never closed a day of life which was not as full of service as of opportunities of service. And he finished that we might begin and also (The Pulpit Commentary – Volume 17: John)
“IT IS FINISHED!” hear the dying Savior cry. Your sins have sustained their death-blow, the robe of your righteousness has received its last thread; it is done complete, perfect. It needs no addition; it can never suffer any diminution. Oh, Christian, do lay hold of this precious thought; I may not be able to state it except in weak terms, but let not my weakness prevent your apprehending its glory and its preciousness. It is enough to make a man leap, though his legs were loaded with irons, and to make him sing though his mouth were gagged, to think that we are perfectly accepted in Christ, that our justification is impartial, it does not go to a limited extent, but goes the whole way. Our unrighteousness is covered; from condemnation we are entirely and irrevocably free once more. The non-condemnation is effectual. The royal privilege of justification shall never miscarry. It shall be brought home to every believer. (Sermon 362)
Christ has said, “IT IS FINISHED!” and we must cease to work too, not only with our hands but with our souls — working no more for life, for that is given; working no more for justification, for that is concluded; but today resting in Christ, for “IT IS FINISHED!” and finding peace in him, for “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus’ — leaving all our cares with him, for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” and then giving up our souls to a glorious and Voracious holy day, which shall be a preparation for the eternal enjoyment of the perpetual feast of the glorified at the table of God in heaven. (Sermon 420)
“IT IS FINISHED.”—John 19:30. - IN the original Greek of John’s Gospel, there is only one word for this utterance of our Lord. To translate it into English, we have to use three words; but when it was spoken, it was only one,—an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop, for that is all that we can call one word. “IT IS FINISHED.” Yet it would need all the other words that ever were spoken, or ever can be spoken, to explain this one word. It is altogether immeasurable. It is high; I cannot attain to it. It is deep; I cannot fathom it. “Finished.” I can half imagine the tone in which our Lord uttered this word, with a holy glorying, a sense of relief, the bursting out of a heart that had long been shut up within walls of anguish. “Finished.” It was a Conqueror’s cry; it was uttered with a loud voice. There is nothing of anguish about it, there is no wailing in it. It is the cry of One who has completed a tremendous labour, and is about to die; and ere he utters his death-prayer, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” he shouts his life’s last hymn in that one word, “Finished.” (Sermon 2344)
The Christian is also saved as to the price that has been paid for him, for this is done, not in part, but in whole. The substitutionary work that Christ has offered is not a certain proportion of the work to be done. “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30) was the cry of the Savior before He died, and so it is complete.
O my dear souls, have you seen our Lord stripped for sin amid the tempest of divine wrath? Have you heard Him cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46)? If so, you have seen how out of the old covenant the new was born, like life from between the jaws of death. Our souls have stood in the midst of the horrible tempest, half- blinded by the lightning and deafened by the thunder. At last there has been a rent in the black mantle; a shower of wondrous love has followed the black tempest; and a voice has been heard, sweeter than the harps of angels, crying, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30).
In truth, we have plenty of reason for resting. We can sit at Jesus’ feet because our salvation is complete. He said, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30), and He knew that He had wrought it all. The ransom price has been paid for your soul. Not one drop has been withheld of the blood that is your purchase. The robe of righteousness (Isa. 61:10) is woven from top to bottom; there is not one thread for you to add. It is written, “Ye are complete in him” (Col. 2:10). However frail we are, we are still “perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), and in spite of all our sin we are still “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6). (The Limitless Love of Christ)
“IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30) is the most charming note in all of Calvary’s music. “It is finished.” The fire has passed upon the Lamb. He has borne the whole of the wrath that was due to His people. This is the royal dish of the feast of love. (Power in the Blood)
There was an apparent if in this covenant (referring to the OT prophecy of the New Covenant) at first. That if hinged upon the question of whether Jesus would obey the law and pay the ransom, a question that His faithfulness placed beyond doubt. There is no if in it now. When Jesus bowed His head and said, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30), there remained no if in the covenant.
IT IS FINISHED - What “it” was it that was finished? I will not attempt to expound it. It is the biggest “it” that ever was! Turn it over and you will see that it will grow, and grow, and grow, and grow, till it fills the whole earth: “IT IS FINISHED.” "And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." He did not give up the ghost and then bow his head because he was dead; but he bowed his head as though in the act of worship or as leaning it down on his Father’s bosom and then gave up the ghost. Thus have we had two gospel pictures of our dying Lord. May we remember them and learn the lessons they are intended to teach!
Just as God looked on each day’s work and said, “It is good” (Ge 1:4), so, as He looks upon each part of the work of His dear Son, He can say of it, “It is good.” The Father joins in the verdict of His Son, that IT IS FINISHED (John 19:30): all the will of God for the sanctification of His people is accomplished. Dear Christian, this work must be applied to us by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to know that Jesus Christ has sanctified us, or set us apart, and made us acceptable with God. It is the Holy Spirit who has given us the New Testament, and shed a light upon the Old. It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us through the ministers of Christ when He blesses them to help us to our conversion. It is especially the Holy Spirit who takes away from us all hope of being sanctified before God by any means of our own, brings us to see our need of cleansing and reconciliation, and then takes of the things of Christ and reveals them to us. Not without the going forth of His sacred power are we made to take the place of separation and dedication, to which the Lord ordained us from eternity. Thus it is by the will of the Father, carried out by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit, that the church of God is regarded as sanctified before God, and is acceptable to Him. I will not dwell any longer on this point, because these great things are best written of with few words: they are subjects that are better to be meditated upon by quiet thought than exhibited in writing. (The Key to Holiness)
He stands beneath it (SIN), and bows under it, until the bloody sweat springs from every pore, and yet He does not yield to its weight in order to get away from the burden. It presses more heavily; it bows Him to the dust; it touches His very soul; it makes Him cry in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); and yet, at the last, He lifts Himself up and flings it all away and cries, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30), and it is gone. There is not a wreck of it left; no, not an atom of it left. It is all gone at once, and once for all. He has borne the immeasurable weight and cast it off from His shoulders forever; and as it lies no more on Him, so also it lies no more on His people. Sin will never be mentioned against them anymore, forever. Oh, wondrous deed of Deity! Oh, mighty feat of love accomplished once for all! The Redeemer never offered Himself to death before. He never will do it again. (The Key to Holiness)
Our words fail and our ideas falter at the thought of the great Substitute, with all the sins of His people condensed into one black liquid and set before Him, for Him to drink. Can we think of Him as putting that cup to His lips, and drinking, drinking, drinking all the wrath, until He had drained the cup to the bottom and filled Himself with horror? Yet, He has finished the death-drink and turned the cup upside down, crying, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). In one tremendous drink, the loving Lord has drained destruction dry for all His people, and there is no dreg nor drop left for any one of them, for now is the will of God accomplished. (The Key to Holiness)
You know, beloved, that the Jew in his ceremonial purification, never had his conscience free from sin. After one sacrifice, he needed still another, for these offerings could never make those who came there perfect. The next day’s sins needed a new lamb, and the next year’s iniquity needed a new victim for an atonement. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12). No more burnt offerings are needed, no more washing, no more blood, no more atonement, no more sacrifice. Hear the dying Savior cry “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Your sins have sustained their death-blow, the robe of your righteousness has received its last thread. It is done, complete, perfect. It needs no addition; it can never suffer any diminution. (Strong Faith)
Jesus Christ exclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). This concerned Christ’s own labor, but the Holy Spirit cannot say that. The Holy Spirit still has more to do, and until the consummation of all things, when the Son Himself becomes subject to the Father, “It is finished” will not be said by the Holy Spirit. (Holy Spirit Power )
When Christ said ‘IT IS FINISHED,’ the words had effect on heaven. Before, the saints had been saved as it were on credit. They had entered heaven, God having faith in his Son Jesus. Had not Christ finished his work, surely they must have left their shining spheres, and suffered in their own persons for their own sins. I might represent heaven, if my imagination might be allowed a moment, as being ready to totter if Christ had not finished his work; its stones would have been unloosed; massive and stupendous though its bastions are, yet had they fallen as earthly cities reel under the throes of earthquakes. But Christ said, ‘IT IS FINISHED,’ and oath, and covenant, and blood set fast the dwelling-place of the redeemed, made their mansions safely and eternally their own, and bade their feet stand immovably upon the rock. Moreover, that word ‘IT IS FINISHED!’ took effect in the gloomy caverns and depths of hell. Then Satan bit his iron bands in rage, howling, ‘I am defeated by the very man whom I thought to overcome; my hopes are blasted; never shall an elect one come into my prison house, never a blood-bought one be found in my abode.’ Lost souls mourned that day, for they said, ‘IT IS FINISHED! and if Christ himself, the substitute, could not be permitted to go free till he had finished all his punishment, then we shall never be free.’ It was their double death-knell, for they said, ‘Alas for us! Justice, which would not allow the Saviour to escape, will never allow us to be at liberty. IT IS FINISHED with him, and therefore it shall never be finished for us.’ (365 Days with Spurgeon Volume 2)
MEDITATION ON “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30-note) which can also be translated "PAID IN FULL!" THREE words in English, ONE word in Greek – TETELESTAI! The GREATEST WORD from the GREATEST MAN on the GREATEST DAY in all eternity! One word, but no word ever uttered has so changed the history and destiny of mankind. In Latin tetelestai is rendered with two words “Consummatum est” (It is consummated!) Jesus spoke 7 times on the Cross (Lk 23:34-note; Jn 19:36-note; Lk 23:42-note; Mt 27:46-note; Jn 19:28,30-note, Lk 23:46-note). TETELESTAI was Jesus’ next to last word and was followed by “Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." (Lk 23:46-note). “IT IS FINISHED!” "Yes, indeed/Finished, ev’ry jot/Sinner, this is all you need/Tell me, is it not?" (Ira Sankey)
As Spurgeon says TETELESTAI conveys “an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop. It would need all the other words that ever were spoken, or ever can be spoken, to explain this one word. It is altogether immeasurable. It is high; I cannot attain to it. It is deep; I cannot fathom it. IT IS FINISHED is the most charming note in all of Calvary’s music. The fire has passed upon the Lamb. He has borne the whole of the wrath that was due to His people. This is the royal dish of the feast of love.” J C Ryle wrote that “It is surely not too much to say, that of all the seven famous sayings of Christ on the cross, none is more remarkable than TETELESTAI.” A C Gaebelein adds “Never before and never after was ever spoken ONE WORD which contains and means so much. It is the shout of the mighty Victor. And who can measure the depths of this ONE WORD!” A W Pink writes that “Eternity will be needed to make manifest all that TETELESTAI contains.” Matthew Henry described TETELESTAI as a "comprehensive word and a comfortable one." Charles Simeon adds that ‘since the foundation of the world there never was a single word uttered, in which such diversified and important matter was contained. Every word indeed that proceeded from our Saviour’s lips deserves the most attentive consideration: but TETELESTAI eclipses all. To do justice to it, is beyond the ability of men or angels: its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, are absolutely unsearchable."
Clearly to contemplate TETELESTAI is to come to the realization that “the place whereon we stand is holy ground.” May the Holy Spirit help us to comprehend and to handle rightly "this text which is at once so small and yet so great!"
It has been well said that Christ’s RESURRECTION is the Father’s “AMEN” to His Son's declaration “IT IS FINISHED.” Looking at the Cross we see the work of redemption completed. Looking at the open tomb we see Jesus’ finished work fully accepted by the Father. The payment required for sin is death (cf Ge 2:17-note, Ro 5:12-note, Ro 6:23-note) and when Christ said TETELESTAI, He was saying that the sin debt was “PAID IN FULL!" If you believe that dear reader, His righteousness has been credited to your account (Ro 4:3-note, Ro 4:24-note, Gal 3:6-7-note). We owed a debt we could never pay. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe! Tony Evans says "All the funds necessary to pay for our total redemption were put up by Jesus Christ on the Cross." Or as Warren Wiersbe put it “He took my bankruptcy and covered it with His solvency.” He didn’t just make a down payment and then expect me to keep up the installments. “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26-note). His empty tomb and His resurrection are indisputable testimony to the fact that the Father accepted His Son’s payment for sin on our behalf, as our Substitute. Thus TETELESTAI is not a cry of defeat of a dying Man, but a cry of triumph of a Living, Life Giving Redeemer, a divine proclamation that the WORK OF REDEMPTION had been fully, finally and forever accomplished (cf Jn 4:34-note, Jn 17:4-note).
Spurgeon adds "What a grand utterance (is "Tetelestai")! Now are we safe, for salvation is complete. The (sin) debt was now, to the last farthing, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever, by the one offering made in Jesus’ body on the Tree. There was the cup; Hell was in it; the Savior drank it—not a sip and then a pause—not a draught (a single act of drinking) and then a ceasing. He drained it till there is not a dreg left for any of His people. The great ten-thronged whip of the Law was worn out upon His back. There is no lash left with which to smite one for whom Jesus died. The great cannonade ("continuous heavy gunfire") of God’s justice has exhausted all its ammunition—there is nothing left to be hurled against a child of God (Beloved, do you believe these great benefits are yours in Christ?). Sheathed is thy sword, O Justice! Silenced is thy thunder, O Law! There remains nothing now of all the griefs and pains and agonies which chosen sinners ought to have suffered for their sins, for Christ has endured all for His own beloved (1Th 1:4-note) and IT IS FINISHED. Christ has paid the debt which all the torments of eternity could not have paid. Once again—when He said, “IT IS FINISHED,” Jesus had totally destroyed the power of Satan, of sin and of death. The Champion accepted the challenge to do battle for our soul’s redemption against all our foes. He met Sin. Horrible, terrible, all-but omnipotent Sin nailed Him to the Cross. But in that deed, Christ nailed Sin also to the tree. There they both did hang together—Sin and Sin’s Destroyer. Sin destroyed Christ and by that destruction Christ destroyed Sin."
TETELESTAI is the perfect tense (see below) of the verb teleo which is derived from telos (a goal achieved, a consummation, a result attained) and means to bring something to a successful end to or to its intended or destined goal. It does not mean just to complete a task but to carry it out fully, to bring it to the finish or to perfection. It follows that Jesus’ cry of TETELESTAI is a word of finality. The idea is “It is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished!” His work of redemption is complete and nothing needs to be or can be added to it. Sin is atoned for (Heb 9:12-note, Heb 10:12-note), Satan is defeated and rendered powerless (Heb 2:14-15-note, 1Jn 3:8), every requirement of the Law has been satisfied and God’s holy wrath against sin has been satisfied (or propitiated) (Ro 3:25-note, Heb 2:17-note, 1Jn 2:2, 4:10). Redemption is eternally secured. We are reconciled in Christ's "fleshly body through death" that we might be presented before God "holy and blameless and beyond reproach." (Col 1:22-note). Speaking of Christ's cry of TETELESTAI, Frank Boreham makes the interesting observation that "This divine self-satisfaction appears only twice, once in each Testament. When He completed the work of Creation, He looked upon it and said that it was "very good," (Ge 1:31-note) when He completed the Work of Redemption, He cried with a loud voice TETELESTAI! (Jn 19:30) It means (in essence) the same thing."
THE PERFECT TENSE: TETELESTAI is in the perfect tense which describes a PAST completed act with PRESENT effect, emphasizing that the past completed event of Christ's death on the Cross has ongoing, even permanent effects. Jesus’ sacrifice may have occurred in time and space, but its results will last for eternity! In other words, when Jesus declared “IT IS FINISHED”, He was saying that His mission to redeem sinners had reached its intended goal and that the benefits to the redeemed would last throughout eternity. Erwin Lutzer adds that "This means that my sins are on Jesus, not on me. Yes, there is sin within me but not on me. My sinful nature keeps luring me toward sin, and even in my best moments my works are tainted with selfish motives. But legally, I am accepted on the basis of the merit of Jesus. Figuratively speaking, I have a new set of clothes and a clear record in heaven. The righteousness of Jesus has been (forever) credited to my account." All that truth in one Greek tense! Beloved our Redeemer's ransom payment is sufficient for this life and the life to come! May God enable us by His Spirit, to live victoriously in light of the truth of this "Word of the Cross" (especially the great word "tetelestai") which is the "power of God" to us "who are being saved (daily by the Spirit)" (1Cor 1:18-note).
Observe how the word TETELESTAI was commonly used in the ancient world:
(1) SERVANTS: Servant used TETELESTAI when reporting to their master, “I have COMPLETED (TETELESTAI) the work assigned to me”. In another ancient secular Greek text we read of the example of a father sending his son on a mission. The son was not to return until he had performed the last act of the mission. When he did return from a successful mission, he used the word TETELESTAI to report to his father that he had accomplished the goal. As Jesus Himself testified “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to ACCOMPLISH (teleioo - also derived from telos = goal) His work. I glorified Thee on the earth, having ACCOMPLISHED (teleioo) the work which Thou hast given Me to do. (And so He laid) down His life for His friends." (Jn 6:38-note, Mk 10:45, Jn 4:34-note, Jn 17:4-note, Jn 15:13-note)
(2) PRIESTS: Priests would examine animals for blemishes before they were sacrificed. If the lamb was faultless, perfect, and acceptable, the priest would say, "TETELESTAI!" Jesus is the Lamb of God Who alone was “without sin” (Heb 4:15-note, cf Jn 1:29-note, 1Cor 5:7-note). As Peter testifies we “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1Pe 1:18-19-note)
(3) ARTISTS: Frank Boreham writes that "When the painter or the sculptor had put the last finishing touches to the vivid landscape or the marble bust, he would stand back a few feet to admire his masterpiece, and, seeing in it nothing that called for correction or improvement, would murmur fondly, ‘Tetelestai!’ ‘Tetelestai!’" "IT IS FINISHED!” All the Old Testament “pictures” (types) of Messiah were fulfilled in Christ and were only a “shadow of what is to come; but the substance (reality) belongs to Christ.” (Col 2:17-note). The death of Jesus on the Cross “finished the picture” of redemption, a masterpiece which had been in the Father's heart “from before the foundation of the world” (1Pe 1:20-note, 2Ti 1:9-note).
(4) MERCHANTS: In ancient times when a promissory note was paid, the one holding the note wrote “TETELESTAI” across it. A deed to property was not in effect until it was dated and signed, and when this was accomplished, the clerk wrote “TETELESTAI” across the deed. When someone had a debt and it was paid off, the creditor would write "TETELESTAI" on the certificate of debt signifying that it was "PAID IN FULL". Several years ago, archaeologists digging in Egypt uncovered the "office" of an ancient "CPA." In this office they found a stack of bills, with the Greek word "tetelestai" inscribed across each bill - "Paid in full"! When Christ gave Himself on the Cross, He fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law and our "sin debt" was PAID IN FULL. The OT sacrifices covered sin but could never take sin away. Jesus accomplished what all of the old covenant sacrifices could not do. "In eternity the Son gave the Father a "promissory note" that He would pay the price for humanity’s redemption (see Heb 10:5–7-note). On Calvary the note was PAID IN FULL. TETELESTAI!" (H H Hobbs) As Spurgeon said "There is no mortgage on the saints." Wayne Grudem adds that "If Christ had not paid the full penalty, there would still be condemnation left for us. But since he has paid the full penalty that is due to us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Ro 8:1-note).
(5) PRISONERS: When a Roman citizen was convicted of a crime, he was thrown into prison. A "Certificate of Debt" listing all his crimes was nailed to his cell door so that anyone passing by could know what he had been accused of and the penalty assessed. When the prisoner had served his sentence and was released from bondage, the indictment was taken down from the door and the judge who had put him in prison would sign the indictment and write across it the word TETELESTAI. The freed prisoner was then given this document and if questioned as to why he was out of jail, he could point to the indictment across which the judge had written TETELESTAI. He could rest in safety and security because the word TETELESTAI guaranteed his deliverance and his liberty. The charges for those crimes could never again be brought against him. He would never be a victim of "double jeopardy" (having to pay for the same crime twice). When Jesus cried "TETELESTAI" on the cross, He was saying that anyone who places his trust in His sacrificial death on their behalf, receives in essence a "certificate of debt" with the inscription of "tetelestai", indicating that all their "crimes" (past, present and future) against God have been PAID FOR IN FULL! In light of this truth, Paul could write that because our debt was PAID IN FULL by Jesus, God “has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out (Greek = completely obliterated) the condemning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over His own head on the Cross. And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, He exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in His final glorious triumphant act!" (Col 2:14-15 Phillips-note) Erwin Lutzer adds that "On the cross, the justice of God was fully satisfied when our heavenly Substitute paid the great price of ransom. As Spurgeon put it, we can stand with confidence despite the thunder of the law and the lightening flash of justice, “for we are safe beneath the cross.” He paid the very last cent of the wages of our sin."
Beloved, Satan may accuse us of "high treason" against God (read Rev 12:10-note), but now and forever "we have an Advocate (paraclete) with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous" (1Jn 2:1-2-note) Who cries "I object" to every accusation of the Adversary, to which the Father says "Objection Sustained!" Yes, when we sin, we need to confess and repent in order to enjoy fellowship with God (1Jn 1:9-note), but our our eternal salvation is never in doubt or subject to "double jeopardy" because Christ has once and for all time cried "TETELESTAI!" Beloved child of God, if you have a sin regarding which you find it difficult to accept the Father's full forgiveness, let your mind dwell on the truth of "TETELESTAI," and then put that sin on God's ledger and write “Paid in Full” next to it! The truth inherent in the word TETELESTAI should give every believer great assurance, comfort and peace that all of our sin debt, past, present and future, is PAID IN FULL and there remains no sacrifice to be paid! There is nothing we must or even could contribute to the remission of our debt, except receive the "free gift of eternal life" by faith (Ro 6:23b-note). Jesus "having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God." (Heb 10:12-note). As the hymn writer E M Hall put it "Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."
Andrew Murray writes that “every day that our confidence grows fuller in Christ's FINISHED WORK must see our heart more entirely yielding itself like Him, a whole burnt offering in the service of God and His love.”
Spurgeon says that “The general religion of mankind is “DO,” but the religion of a true Christian is “DONE.” IT IS FINISHED is the believer’s conquering word. INCARNATE LOVE has fulfilled His self-imposed task. Jesus, as the Substitute for sinners, was condemned to die, and He died that He might finish the work of our redemption. Your sins have sustained their death-blow, the robe of your righteousness has received its last thread (cf 1Cor 1:30-note, 2Cor 5:21-note). It is done, complete, perfect. It needs no addition; it can NEVER suffer any diminution. Oh, Christian, do lay hold of this precious thought. I may not be able to state it except in weak terms, but let not my weakness prevent your apprehending its glory and its preciousness. This thought is enough to make a man leap, though his legs were chained with irons, and to make him sing, though his mouth were gagged. We are PERFECTLY ACCEPTED in Christ, and our justification is not partial (cf Ro 5:1-note, Ro 5:9-note, Ro 8:30-note). It does not go to a limited extent, but goes the whole way. Our unrighteousness is covered. From condemnation we are entirely and irrevocably free. 'Consummatum est. The work is done, redemption is accomplished; the salvation of My people is forever secured. Sin will never be mentioned against them anymore, forever. Oh, wondrous deed of Deity! Oh, mighty feat of love accomplished once for all!"
J C Ryle encourages us to REST our souls on the finished work of Christ (Heb 4:10-11-note) noting that “We need not fear that either sin or Satan or law shall condemn us at the last day. We may lean back on the thought, that we have a Savior Who has done all, paid all, accomplished all, performed all that is necessary for our salvation. We may take up the challenge of the Apostle, "Who is the one who condemns? (cf Ro 8:1-note) Christ Jesus is He Who died, yes, rather Who was raised, Who is at the right hand of God; Who also (continually) intercedes for us." (Ro 8:34-note). When we look at our own works, we may well feel ashamed of their imperfections. But when we look at the FINISHED WORK of Christ, we may feel peace (cf Heb 12:2-note)." Hallelujah!
Spurgeon “Christ has said, “IT IS FINISHED!” and we must cease to work too (Ro 4:3-note), not only with our hands but with our souls—working no more for life, for that is given; working no more for justification, for that is concluded; but to-day RESTING in Christ (cp Ro 4:5-6-note, Mt 11:28-30-note) for “It is finished!” There is nothing for God to do. “IT IS FINISHED.” There is nothing for you to do. “IT IS FINISHED.” Christ need not bleed. “IT IS FINISHED.” You need not weep. “IT IS FINISHED.” God the Holy Spirit need not delay because of your unworthiness, nor need you delay because of your helplessness. “IT IS FINISHED.” Every stumbling block is rolled out of the road; every gate is opened. The bars of brass are broken, the gates of iron are burst asunder. “IT IS FINISHED.” Come and welcome; come and welcome!." This is exactly what the great missionary Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, did as he meditated on “IT IS FINISHED” writing that “There dawned upon me the joyous conviction that since the whole work was finished and the whole debt was paid upon the Cross there was nothing for me to do but to fall upon my knees, accept the Savior and praise Him forevermore.” Amen!
The evangelist Alexander Wooten was approached by a young man who asked, “What must I DO to be saved?” Wooten replied “It’s too late!” The young man became alarmed asking “Do you mean that it’s too late for me to be saved? Is there nothing I can DO?” Wooten replied “Too late! It’s already been DONE! (IT IS FINISHED!) The only thing you can DO is BELIEVE.”
It is done. Tetelestai. Finished!
"Jesus Paid It All" from Passion 2006…
Lifted up was He to die,
“It is finished,” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Saviour.