I would like to begin with a
Many years ago, I taught in
Campbell River. Enrolling students from
other countries was just getting started and our school had several Koreans in
attendance. We did not have separate
English Language Learning streams in those days so these E S L students were
thrown in to regular classes, all taught in English.
I got to know one such student
quite well. I spent many hours helping
him after school. Other teachers did as
well. He recorded his classes and spent
hours and hours every night playing them back, translating vocabulary into
Korean so he could understand and learn it.
On top of that, his personality and his cultural drive to honor his
parent’s financial investment caused him to be extremely dissatisfied if he did
not achieve high grades. (really high grades).
I returned to Kenya and he went
on to graduate from grade 12. He
finished. But then it was university
and he struggled to find a really good school.
He went to UBC Okanagan and I remember meeting him once while I was on
home assignment. He was struggling with
the work load, struggling with his English and struggling with achieving the
highest possible grades. He was at
the campus from early morning till late at night. He wasn’t eating properly, he wasn’t
exercising, his church attendance dropped off. But he finished.
By now I was back in Canada and
we connected again. Now he wanted to go
to into architecture, a highly competitive field. Again, the struggle, even doubting if this
was the right path because it was so hard.
The other day he contacted me and asked me to edit one of his final
proposals for a building to promote true multi-culturalism. It looks like soon he will finish.
Of course, next will be applying
for jobs, maybe getting married and I am afraid the struggle for next to
perfect performance will continue.
FINISHED BUT NEVER FINISHED.
Let us read the latter portions of John 19 together. It is a portion of the Bible normally
studied on Good Friday but as we have been going through THE STORY (hold it up)
we have reached this point today.
So, the soldiers took
charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying
his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in
Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There
they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the
had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many
of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near
the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The
chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the
Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four
shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was
seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the
scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”[a]
So this is what
the soldiers did.
the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the
wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When
Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing
nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and
to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From
that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would
be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A
jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the
sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When
he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is
finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave
up his spirit.
THE PASSION OF THE
CHRIST movie was released in February 2004. It grossed over $611 million while
only costing $30 million and many people were highly impacted. I am going to read one review of the movie.
The writer/director was Mel Gibson. The movie was his depiction of the last hours of the life of Jesus. It’s Gibson’s personal, spiritual statement about the view that the suffering Jesus endured at the end of his life demonstrated his divinity and his sacrifice.
This movie is the
prayer of a gifted filmmaker, but it’s also a narrow and harrowing perspective
on a story that, no matter what your faith, is bigger than any attempt to
portray it on film. Gibson said that
everyone who worked on this film, whether, Christian, Muslim or Atheist were
deeply affected and changed. As a movie, it’s a respectful and reverent
treatment of a story that has probably been more influential than any other in
the history of the world.
This morning we are
going to just focus on three little words in English which is one word in
Greek. It is finished. Te tell is sty. It
is finished ! Te tell is sty! I am praying that this time will again deeply
affect us. We will come away with a
greater conviction of the divinity and incredible sacrificial love of Jesus FOR
US and be spurred to respond to it.
The question we are
going to consider is: What did Jesus
mean when he said “It is Finished”? Te
tell is sty ?
who lived over 300 years ago wrote one of the greatest devotional commentaries on
record. He lists 8 things that were finished or completed when Jesus cried out
“It is finished.”
1. The malice of his enemies was
finished. By nailing him to the cross, they had done their worst. There was
nothing more they could do to the Son of God.
2. The sufferings ordained by God
were finished. Often, during his ministry, Jesus spoke of “the work” he was
sent to do and of the “hour” of trouble that was coming. He once spoke of a
“baptism” of suffering he must undergo. All those things were ordained by God. But
those sufferings were now at an end.
3. All the Old Testament types and
prophecies were fulfilled. Matthew Henry lists a number of examples—He had been
given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21), he had been sold for 30 pieces of silver
(Zechariah 11:12), his hands and feet had been pierced (Psalm 22:16), his
garments had been divided (Psalm 22:18), and his side was pierced (Zechariah
12:10). There are many other prophesies surrounding his death. All those had
been or very soon would be fulfilled.
4. The ceremonial law was
abolished. As Romans 10:4 puts it, Christ is “the end of the law.” It finds its
completion and fulfillment in him. Therefore, all the Old Testament rules
concerning animal sacrifices are set aside. And the rules and regulations
concerning the priesthood are out of date since the Greater Priest has now laid
down his life for his people. Those laws pointed to the cross. But once Jesus
died, they were no longer needed.
5. The price of sin was paid in
full. Recall the words of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus? He called him
“The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) That “taking
away” of sin was accomplished by the death of our Lord.
6. His physical sufferings were at
an end. “The storm is over, the worst is past; all his pains and agonies are at
7. His life was now finished. When
Jesus cried out “It is finished,” he had only a few seconds to live. All that
he had come to do had been fully accomplished. His life and his mission came to
an end at exactly the same moment.
Before we mention the final and
most significant meaning behind Jesus saying It is finished! it would be
helpful to expand the meaning of the Greek word Te Tell is sty!
It comes from the
which means “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It represents
the successful end to a particular course of action. You
would use it when you climb to the peak of a tall mountain or you make the
final payment on your mortgage or cross the finish line of your first marathon.
Not just “I survived.” Rather “I did exactly what I set out to
I’m sure we all have some parts of our lives that we feel are
successfully completed. However, all of us also have areas in our lives that
are unfinished and may remain unfinished
when we die.
—the half-read book – books in my
case – you should see the pile on my table
—the letter started but never sent
—how about the abandoned diet
—or the phone calls never returned
But it can be much more serious
—the job we quit in a fit of anger
—the wrecked marriage
—the bills never paid
—the promises never kept
There is a trail of unfinished
projects and unfulfilled dreams behind us all. Jesus
was the one person in history never left behind any unfinished business. He is
the only person who could come to the end of his life and say—with absolute and
total truthfulness—”I have finished everything I set out to do.”
But there’s more. Tetelestai is in the
perfect tense in Greek. That’s important because the perfect tense refers to an
action which has been completed in the past with results continuing into the
present. It’s not the simple past tense which looks back to an event and says,
“This happened.” Rather the perfect tense means “This happened and it is still in effect
Jesus’ cry of “It is
finished,” meant “It was finished in the past, it is still finished
in the present, and it will remain finished in the future.”
He did not say, “I am
finished,” for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted.
Rather, he cried out “It is finished,” meaning “I successfully
completed the work I came to do.” It is the Savior’s final cry of victory,
with no unfinished business behind.
Finally, let me add one more
piece of the meaning of Te tell is sty
It means everything listed above,
but it especially applies to the price paid for the sins of the world. Historians discovered this verb was used in
the first and second centuries in the sense of “fulfilling” or “paying” a debt
and often appeared in receipts. “It is finished” (Tetelestai) could be
interpreted as “Paid in full.”
“Paid in full” means that once a
thing is paid for, you never have to pay for it again.
So, with this full definition of I
will share the last thing Matthew Henry said were finished when Jesus died.
work of redemption was now complete.
Man’s redemption (buying back from
the enemy) was completed.
- the action of
saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
“God’s plans for the redemption of his
- the action of
regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or
clearing a debt.
So, let me put this all together in
the context of our sermon series.
When Jesus said It is finished, He was saying he had accomplished
everything He set out to do. He was saying It was
finished in the past, it is still finished in the present, and it will remain
finished in the future.” And he was
saying that the work of saving mankind from sin and buying them back was
complete. Paid in full.
If you have been with us
throughout the last year you will be aware that we have gone on a journey
through the whole Bible, Story by Story.
Way back at the beginning we
learned about the creation of the world and the creation of man and woman made
in the image of God.
God placed them in a beautiful
garden and came down to live with them – to walk in the quiet of the afternoon
Unfortunately, the man and woman
chose their own way, rather than following the good plans of their
creator. This is called sin which is
defined by the author of the Story as a preoccupation with selfishness. Selfishness over otherness. A disregard for God and a disregard for
others in our lives.
This broke the possibility of
mankind living together with God and set a chain of events in place in which
mankind became separated from God and each successive person inherited the
stain or virus of sin from their original ancestors. Due to that, mankind lost the ability to have
fellowship with their creator. Due to
God’s great love for mankind He set in motion an upper story in order to some
day restore the ability for men to once again come into His presence. While He was working out all things in this
grand redemptive (saving or buying back) plan in the upper story, the
conditions on the earth (the lower story) were tragic and got worse and worse
the farther away from the original intent of God.
God chose a people (Israelites)
and established rules of conduct (10 Commandments) in order to preserve them
and help them be a witness to all nations.
They failed to obey them. He
chose to be their God but they cried out for human kings which he granted but
very few of them followed after Him. He
sent prophets to warn and hopefully cause His people to return to Him but the
people did not listen or respect the prophets or God. He performed miracles of
deliverance to prove his love to his people.
When the conditions on the earth became so bad, judgement came upon
people to get their attention always with the promise and reality of
And He helped people to make a
written record of His commandments for mankind and a history of his dealings
with them. (The Torah or Old Testament
as we call it now). And throughout the
whole written record there were foreshadows of the Upper Story plan to redeem
mankind and make a way for men to be able to fellowship directly with God
When Jesus said It is finished Te
Tell is Sty he was saying that the upper story and lower story had intersected
(come together) and the plan of God to bring back mankind back into fellowship
was completed. Through Jesus’
sacrificial death people have the opportunity to walk once more in the garden
Application 1: The way is open for you to connect with
God. You don’t have to earn it like my
friend constantly does. Jesus
accomplished it all. The finished work of Christ. All you have to do it accept
it. You can’t earn it – you would be
foolish to try. You can’t add to – it is
finished. Let me put it very simply. If Jesus
paid it all, you don’t have to. If you try to pay for your salvation, it means
you don’t think he paid it all. There is no middle ground between those two
Since Jesus Christ paid in full, the only thing you can do is
accept it or reject it
Application #2: No sin is too great to keep you from
God. Name any sin – the price has been
paid in full. What sin is keeping you from God
today? Is it anger? Is it lust? Is it a hard heart of unbelief? Is it alcohol
abuse? Is it an uncontrollable temper? Is it cheating? Is it stealing? Is it
adultery? Is it abortion? Is it pride? Is it greed?
Let me tell you the best news you’ve ever heard. It doesn’t matter
what “your” sin is. It doesn’t matter how many sins you’ve piled up in your
life. It doesn’t matter how guilty you think you are. It doesn’t matter what
you’ve been doing this week. It doesn’t matter how bad you’ve been. It doesn’t
matter how many skeletons rattle around in your closet. When we accept the sacrifice Christ made for
us on the cross all of our sins have been stamped by God with one
word—Tetelestai—Paid in full.
Along with that we do not have to pretend anymore. I don’t have to wear a mask and try to appear
to be someone I am not. Application #3: There is no place for discrimination or
person in the auditorium has the same spiritual problem and the same spiritual
solution. There is no place for
otherness. Galatians 3:28 makes is very
clear. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave
nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.