GREETINGS IN JESUS’ NAME!
Easter is upon us — and people all over the world are getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. But today I want to share fresh insight about that day when Jesus was breathing His last breaths on the Cross! I believe it will thrill your heart!
But first, Denise and I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for being a partner and friend with our ministry. What you are doing in connection with us is having a tremendous impact in lives all over the world. We are very aware that you could use your money elsewhere. But you have chosen to use it sacrificially for the Gospel and as a seed in our ministry to help us take the Word of God to people who are crying out for it. A day never passes that Denise and I don’t stop to seriously ponder what you do and to thank God for it. Today — right up front, at the beginning of my letter — I just wanted to express our thankfulness to you.
This month, I want to share from John 19:30. This verse tells us that as Jesus was dying on the Cross, He lifted up His voice and said, “It is finished!” The verse continues, “…And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” I want to open that phrase “It is finished” to you. I believe you’ll find something fresh here that will fill your heart with deep gratitude!
Those words “it is finished” is a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, a word that means to end, to bring to completion, to bring to a conclusion, to complete, to accomplish, to fulfill, or to finish. There were many nuances to this word, but four have great significance concerning this defining moment of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
First, this was Jesus’ exclamation that He
had finished the work the Father had sent Him to do.
One scholar noted that when a servant was sent on a mission and then later returned to his master, the servant would say, “Tetelestai” — meaning, “I have done exactly what you requested” or, “The mission is now accomplished.” This is the very message Jesus spoke when He said, “It is finished!”
This means in that moment when Jesus cried out, He was exclaiming to the entire universe that He had faithfully fulfilled the Father’s will and the mission was now accomplished. No wonder Jesus shouted — for this was the greatest victory in the history of the human race! He had been faithful to His assignment even in the face of unfathomable challenges. The fight was over and Jesus could cry out to the Father, “I have done exactly what You asked Me to do!” or, “The mission is accomplished!”
Second, this word “tetelestai” was the equivalent
of the Hebrew word spoken by the high priest when he
presented a sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish.
Annually, the high priest entered beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies, where he poured the blood of the sacrificial spotless lamb on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The moment the blood touched the mercy seat, atonement was made for the people’s sins for one more year. This was done year after year to obtain the annual, temporary forgiveness of sin.
When Jesus hung on the Cross, however, He was both Lamb and High Priest. In that holy moment as our Great High Priest, Jesus offered His own blood for the permanent removal of sin. He offered up the perfect sacrifice of His own blood, of which every Old Testament sacrifice was a type and symbol — and in that instant, there remained no more need of offering for sin.
Jesus entered into the Holy Place and offered His own blood — a sacrifice so complete that God never again required the blood of lambs for the forgiveness of sin. As Hebrews 9:12 says, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Thus, when Jesus said, “It is finished!” He was declaring the end of sacrifice, because the ultimate Sacrifice had finally been made! Atonement was completed, perfected, and fully accomplished. It was done once and for all — finished forever!
Third, in a secular sense, “tetelestai” was used in the
business world to signify the full payment of a debt.
When a debt had been fully paid off, the parchment on which the debt was recorded was stamped with tetelestai, which meant the debt had been paid in full. This means that once a person calls Jesus the Lord of his or her life and personally accepts His sacrifice, no debt of sin exists for that person any longer. The debt is wiped out because Jesus paid the price for sin that no sinner could ever pay.
Jesus took our place. He paid the debt we owed for our sin. And when we, by faith, repent and receive Him as Lord, we are set free! This is why Paul wrote, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).
When Jesus uttered those words “It is finished!” it was His declaration that the debt was fully satisfied, fulfilled, and complete. His blood utterly and completely cleansed us forever. It was far-reaching and all-embracing for all of us who put our faith in Him.
Fourth, in ancient times, “tetelestai” also depicted a turning point
when one period ended and a new period began.
When Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished!” it was a turning point in the entire history of mankind. At that moment, the Old Testament came to an end — it was finished and closed — and the New Testament began. The Cross was “the Great Divide” in human history. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” He was shouting that the Old Covenant had ended and the New Covenant had begun!
In that divine moment when Jesus cried, “It is finished,” all the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus’ earthly ministry were fulfilled. The justice of God had been fully satisfied by the Lamb of God. At that moment, the sacrifices of the Old Testament permanently ceased, for the perfect Sacrifice had laid down His life for the salvation of mankind. Jesus’ mission was accomplished. Thus, He could cry out that His task was complete!
Never forget that because Jesus was willing to offer His own blood for the full payment of our sinful debt, we are forgiven and utterly debt-free. The words “PAID IN FULL” were stamped on your past sinful record because Jesus paid the price for your redemption with His own blood.
Jesus paid the price for salvation, liberation, physical healing, and complete restoration. When the price for your forgiveness was paid in full, Jesus bowed His head and died. God’s justice had been fulfilled. The Old Covenant had ended, and the New Covenant had begun. It was the fulfillment of one and the beginning of another.
- Jesus purchased our salvation on the Cross…
- He entered into the Holy Place and offered His own blood for us…
- Our debt was forever paid for and canceled…
- Our past is over and we’ve been given a new start…
- That is what “It is finished” means for you and me.
Before I close today, I want to remind you that we are always here to pray for you. Just let us know how we can believe with you and we’ll quickly join our faith with yours. When you let us know how we can pray for you specifically, we are able to pray more effectively. So as soon as we hear from you, we’ll release our faith for God to move in your situation!
Have a wonderful Easter!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families