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March 16

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the
wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When
Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he
bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:28-30

As the moment draws near for Jesus to hand his spirit over to the Father he expresses thirst. He moistens his parched, split lips and then in a loud voice (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37) declares triumphantly, “It is finished.”

Here is no weak whimper or gasp, “I am finished,” but rather a shout, “It is finished.” Protestant theologian Arthur Pink (1886-1952) noted that this “is not the last gasp of a worn out life.” Jesus is not announcing his impending death but declaring victory. Jesus has completed the mission entrusted him by the Father, having laid down his life as a ransom for sin (Mark 10:45). All four gospels speak of Jesus as laying down his life willingly. No one took Jesus’ life from him. Now in this moment salvation is accomplished, and Jesus commits himself into the Father’s hands.

In the original Greek language of the New Testament the words, “It is finished” are actually one word, tetelestai. This is a word that comes from the verb teleo denoting the completion of a task. More significant is that archeologists have discovered many scraps of papyrus from the first century in which the verb, tetelestai, was used to signify the payment of a debt. They have found tax bills  and other bills with the word tetelestai scrawled across the bottom signifying that the debt has been “paid in full.”

Jesus’ shout of victory echoes out across the Judean hillsides and to the ends of the earth. It is finished! Paid in full! Nothing more needs to be done. On the cross Jesus finished the work and won our salvation. Our debt to God is paid in full on the cross. It is just as the Apostle Paul wrote: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21).

The town atheist once asked a happy old saint, “Can you just tell me the gospel you believe in and how your believe it?” She quietly answered him, “God is satisfied with the work of his Son, that’s the gospel I believe. So I’m satisfied with it, and that’s how I believe it.”

MEDITATION

Soaking in Scripture…
Today’s Andy Moments…

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