“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 Deep the Father’s Love For Us- Stuart Townsend, 1995)
It’s the time of year where Christians around the world focus more intently on the work Jesus did on the cross. It always amazes me how a holy God, driven by his love, would send his only begotten Son, who had no sin, to pay the ransom for sinful mankind.
It amazes me that this Son, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians chapter 2, verses 6-8)
And it amazes me even more that God would look ahead and see my life of sin and shame and still choose to go through this plan of salvation to redeem a wretch like me and many others like me. It boggles my mind the “...measure of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John chapter 3, verse 1)
It is finished
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (St. John chapter 19, verse 30)
I recently learnt a new word called “tetelestai” which when translated from Greek to English means “it is finished”. Michael Maynard in his article entitled “It is Finished: The Last Words of Jesus” stated that in Jesus’ time, this word was often used when:
“1. A worker had completed a task given by his employer. It indicated to the employer that the given task was now completed.
2. When an artist completed his new art piece. Saying “tetelestai” implied that the masterpiece was completed and that no more adjustments were needed.
3. When a person finally paid off a loan, they were issued a receipt that was stamped with the word “tetelestai” which meant that their debt was now paid in full.”
All three scenarios, while using context from Jesus’ time, helps us to understand what Jesus meant when he uttered the words “It is finished.”
In the first instance, we can say that the work that Jesus came to do on earth, which culminated on the cross was completed. He successfully made a way for mankind to be saved from the punishment of death due to our sin and made a way for us to be reconciled to the Father.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (St. John chapter 3, verse 17)
In the second instance we can say that nothing else was needed for our salvation. There is nothing that we can add, subtract or change to make Jesus’ work on the cross more complete.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8-9)
In the third instance we can say that the price of our sin was paid in full by our Lord. He died to pay for our sins
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans chapter 6, verse 23)
The beautiful truth is that “Jesus completed the work of salvation once and for all. That means it is not up to us to add anything, complete anything, finalize anything when it comes to our salvation – Jesus did it all. So now, when we have put our trust in the finished work of Jesus, we can rest in confidence of our salvation and pursue God with our whole hearts.” (It Is Finished: The Last Words of Jesus by Michael Maynard, June 25, 2017)
In the Old Testament, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would make a sacrifice for the sins of the Israelites. Figuratively speaking, their sins would be placed on the lamb who would be punished in their place. This would have to be done on a yearly basis.
When Jesus died on the cross, He became a sacrificial lamb for us, not as a temporary fix but as a permanent solution. Jesus’ death and resurrection means that not only have our sins been paid for, but we now have direct access to our Father.
“Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter chapter 3, verse 18)
“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” (Ephesians chapter 2, verse 18)
Rose-Ann Durant is a young Christian from Kingston, Jamaica, who is currently living in Barbados. She is the 2021 Basil Sellers International (18-30) Awardee and in August 2021, became a contributing writer for Victorious By Design, a digital and print media group that seeks to encourage women of all ages to walk victoriously into all that God has called them. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, river, and spending time outdoors.