I love words. I love using them and use a lot of them. I love learning their meanings and origins. A few years ago I learned the word “tetelestai,” and it quickly became one of my favorites. This is what Jesus says in John 19:30:
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
At the climax of the story, the Savior says it’s finished, it’s over. This is the same word that artists would say when they completed a masterpiece. Picture an artist finishing what he has been pouring everything into for years. He remembers the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it. The frustration and the joy. As he finishes, he takes a deep breath and says, “Tetelestai. It is finished.”
Jesus uses tetelestai in the same way here. He completed the task He came for. Mission accomplished. This simple phrase carries so much weight for believers.
I don’t have to attempt to atone for my sins. Tetelestai.
I don’t have to attempt to bridge the gap my sin causes between myself and God. Tetelestai.
I don’t have to attempt to do enough good to counter my wrongdoing. Tetelestai.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Romans 5:8-9
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6
You mend my life with Your holy fire
You cover me with grace.
You are the hand that reaches out to save
I am set free…
It is for freedom that i am set free.
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 held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.