“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’” (John 19:30)
These last words of Jesus are actually one word in the original language: “Tetelesti.”
This word was written over the record of a prisoner after completing his or her sentence in a Roman prison. “Tetelesti” was also written above the cross of a prisoner crucified by Rome.
What a providential irony that Jesus chose this word at the end of His suffering for your sins and mine.
What Jesus meant is that He paid in full a debt He did not owe because we owe a debt we cannot pay. Theologians call this the “finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.” One thought is that we cannot add anything to what He finished for us there on the cross.
A more profound thought is that we must put our faith in what Jesus did for us there.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus sweat great drops of blood as He pleaded with the Father to let this cup pass from Him. The Father’s response was that there was no other way, so Jesus had to go through the suffering of the cross.
To think that we could save ourselves by our works is like saying to our Heavenly Father and to our Savior: “You really didn’t have to go through all that suffering because I can save myself by the good works I am doing.”
We must believe in what Jesus finished on the cross: “It is finished.”
Dick Woodward, 28 August 2009