March 23, 2009
“It is finished”
If you pay attention to a liturgical calendar, you know that we are in the season of Lent (the 40 days or so before the Holy Week leading up to Easter). As I was contemplating some of those events, a Greek phrase kept running through my mind. It is “tetelestai.” In most of our bible translations, it is rendered in English, “it is finished.” This is one of the seven sayings that Christ made while He was on the cross. The seven sayings are:
1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
2. “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
3. “Dear woman, here is your son, and to the disciple, here is your mother.” (John 19:26)
4. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtha which means, My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46)
5. “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
7. “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
If you think about it, there is a special word from the Lord encapsulated in each of those phrases. There is a word of encouragement as Christ set the example showing us how to forgive. There are the words regarding salvation that are given to the thief on the cross. There is a word of affection extended to Christ’s mother as He enjoined John to care for her. There are the words of anguish expressed as Christ cries out to God the Father asking why He is forsaken. There is the simple word of suffering expressed in the request for sour wine. There is the great word of victory shouted when Jesus declared the agony to be over. And as He laid down His own life, there are the words of contentment as He relinquishes His spirit, bows His head and dies.
It is the sixth statement that has been rolling around in my head for a day or three, “it is finished.” Notice that He asked for a drink first. He had refused sweet wine mixed with gall at around 9am. He did not want His senses dulled with the narcotic effect of that drink. Now 6 hours later, He asks for a drink and the soldiers gave Him sour wine mixed with vinegar. This drink would have coated His throat and given Him energy with which to shout His next statement.
“It is finished!” He is declaring that the works God the Father gave Him to do had been accomplished (see John 4:34, 5:36 and 17:4). It was a shout of victory. He had finished His redemptive work. He had reconciled men to Himself. He had atoned for your sins and mine. The Lamb of God had been slain. The awful sacrifice and payment for sin had been made and accepted by the Father. The great substitution had taken place. The legal transaction that allows God to accept us in the beloved (Eph 1:6) had been accomplished.
As we enter the Easter season, we too need to shout…”Praise the Lord, it is finished!!
Regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools