Christ finished the work of saving sinners who were otherwise destined for hell and everlasting pain and separation from God.
What do you do when you finish a task? In our task-oriented world, we move to the next task, don’t we? My wife bought a notebook with daily, weekly, and monthly task lists. When I asked her why she does not use her phone instead, she said that when she finishes a task and crosses it out, she feels accomplished.
Good Friday was the last item on Jesus’ to-do list, and John 19:28-30 was the declaration of finishing the work that was accomplished: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
To understand the eternal significance of His last words, “it is finished,” I want us to ask, what is finished, why is it finished, and how is it finished?
What Is Finished?
What is finished? The phrase in the ESV translation, “It is finished” in Greek, is one word, tetelestai. The root word of that is telos which means to bring something to its intended successful end. It is a destined goal that is attained and achieved. It is not to complete a task but to carry it out fully. Jesus finished perfectly what He came to achieve. His intended objective was successfully attained. So, the question is, why did He come?
In Matthew 9:13, Jesus said, I have come to call sinners. In John 5:43, He said I have come to represent my Father. In John 6:38, He said, I have come down from heaven to do the Will of God. In John 7:29, Jesus said, I have come as a light to shine in this dark world. In John 12:47, He said, I have come to save the world.
Through His complete work of atonement on the cross, Christ saved sinners who were otherwise destined for hell and everlasting pain and separation from God. He came to finish this, and when it was finished, he said, “It is finished.”
Why Is It Finished?
Why is it finished? Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden. The act of disobedience of Eve and Adam brought enmity between God and us. For humanity, the consequence of that original sin was hereditary. There was no possible way to remove the consequence of the original sin that stood between man and God. God is purely holy, equally just, and loving. His love pained Him to see us perish, but His justice could not allow us to go unpunished.
Why is it finished? Because Christ paid the price. When no works of man were sufficient to satisfy God’s justice, God’s love caused God’s Son to step into our reality to pay the price on the cross that only God can pay to fully satisfy God’s demand of justice. Yes, Jesus is God.
How Is It Finished?
How is it finished? None of the seven words uttered from the cross have the eternal power that this one-word tetelestai holds. It accomplished God’s mission on earth and in heaven. When on earth, God the Son said, it is finished; in heaven, God the Father said, Amen, by raising His Son from the dead.
So, it was not a cry of a victim on the cross. It was the triumphant shout of God’s Son on the cross to declare victory over the plans of the devil who held God’s precious children hostage to sin, shame, guilt, and death.
What the eternal torment of billions of souls in hell could not accomplish, God’s Son on the cross did by satisfying the wrath of God to resecure, redeem, and restore us. Jesus totally destroyed the power of Satan, sin, and death in the one-word of finality tetelestai: it is finished, it remains finished, and it is finished forever.
Luke 23:46 says, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this, he breathed his last.”
Sin was the problem for which Christ had to die on the cross. Putting a little whiteout of human works on the problem of sin will not resolve the problem. It will only hide it.
God’s design was perfect, but when sin entered humanity, it brought death. We cannot fix death, nor can we fix this defect of Sin. Only the designer of our life can, and that is exactly what Christ did on the cross. So, this Good Friday, put your faith in Him and ask Him to come into your life and save you from sin, shame, guilt, and eternal death.