Lenten Meditation: a Word of Completion

tetelestai cross
tetelestai cross

Tetelestai!* It is finished! The death of Christ on the Cross is the HINGE of human history...and nowbefore He breathes His last breath... a cry of victory,It is finished!

What's finished? It must be something BIG,...look at what happened when Jesus died:

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God! Matthew 27:51-54 NLT

So WHAT was finished?  What wascomplete at the death of Christ?

All the work that the Father had sent the Son to accomplish:

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."

paid in full
paid in full

...especiallythe work of atonement and redemption as our Sin Bearer:

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2Cor 5:21 NLT

...so that there was nothing left to be done to bring us to a Holy God!

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. 1 Peter 3:18 NLT

This has HUGE implications for us!

Jesus did everything that He needed to do... ...for our salvation from the penalty of sin! ...for our Christian life on this earth! ...for our eternity in glory!

Look at how Paul says it:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners....God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. Romans 5:6-10

But not only did Jesus die for us (as if that wasn't enough), but we died with Him (read Romans 6 and Colossians 3)

I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me... Galatians 2:20a NIV

...you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Col 3:3-4

crucufixion tetelestai
crucufixion tetelestai

Now this is where it gets really exciting...and practical for my everyday life:

WHAT did I die to through my union with Christ?

I died to the sinful self -- Gal 2:20; 2Cor 5:17; Rom 6:3-14 I died to the flesh -- Col 2:11-12; Rom 8:1-10 I died to sin --  Col 2:13; Romans 6:3-14; Eph 2:1-7;2Cor 5:21 I died to the Law (“to do list” religion)! -- Rom 7:4-6; 8:3-4; Gal 2:19-20; 3:10-25; Col 2:14 I died to the power of Satan, whose main tactics are lies and accusation! -- Col 2:15; Heb 2:14-15; Eph 1:19-21;6:10ff I died to the world -- Gal 6:14; Col 2:8

So if death means separation, then...

I've been disconnected from my selfish self as my source of life; I've been disconnected from the fleshly and sinful attitude of independence as the source of my life; I've been disconnected from the need to do good works (religious and otherwise) to earn God's favor (I already have God's favor in Christ); I've been disconnected from the power of the lies of the enemy (for a good example of this, see Caught in the Web); I've been disconnected from the world system with its values and mindset as my source of meaning in life.

Now I can chose to live from the indwelling, risen Christ who is my life...

And that's worth shouting about...Tetelestai!

And singing about..

How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there Until it was accomplished His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything No gifts, no power, no wisdom But I will boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom


Bible Note: In John 19:30, "John chose to quote Jesus using the Greek word tetelestai, an accounting term found on canceled loan documents, relieving a debtor of future payment.  When the last payment had been made, the paper was stamped tetelestai, meaning 'paid in full.' If the lender wished to forgive the debt, he could stamp the document tetelestai, meaning 'fulfilled' or 'completed.'"  (Chuck Swindoll, Saying It Well, p. 131)