Summary: Jesus was and is the master of Famous last words. "It is Finished," is a single word in Greek. When we allow Jesus to have the final word on anything, painful things become beautiful things.
Intro: Ben Zander, in his 2008 TED talk, shared a story about last words and how what we say and how we say it really makes a difference. This was a story of a woman, one of the survivors from the Auschwitz concentration camp:
"She went to Auschwitz when she was 15 years old and her brother was eight, and the parents were lost. And she told me this, 'We were in the train going to Auschwitz, and I looked down, and I saw my brother's shoes were missing. And I said, Why are you so stupid? Can't you keep your things together?! For goodness' sake!' The way an elder sister might speak to a younger brother. Unfortunately, it was the last thing she ever said to him, because she never saw him again. He did not survive. And so, when she came out of Auschwitz, she made a vow. She said, 'I walked out of Auschwitz into life, and the vow was, I will never say anything that couldn't stand as the last thing I ever say.'"
Our last words reveal what is most important to us. Jesus was and is the master of last words. When faced with words of betrayal by Judas he responded with words of forgiveness and reconciliation. When faced with words of mocking and rejection, Jesus responded with words of compassion and invitation.
Jesus famous last words “It is finished” come from one word in the Greek. This is powerful word that perfectly reveals what was important to Jesus. His Fathers will and the salvation of the lost.
We arrive with Jesus on the cross after a sleepless night, an illegal trial, a brutal beating, 6 hours of excruciating pain on the cross. During this 6 hours Jesus carried much more than just the weight of the cross. He carried the burden of the sin that separates every single person from God. He carried the sin that devastates people’s lives who try to do life apart from God’s grace, presence and wisdom. He carried the sin that strangulates the life of God planned for everyone!
At this point he asks for something to drink so that scripture is fulfilled. He wets His vocal cords and releases the shortest yet strongest of His last words before His death. “Tetelestai” It is finished!
From the unbelieving world the defeated cry of a zealot, a rebel, someone whose mission was incomplete.
But we who believe know that this was not the cry of defeat but the exclamation of victory! The most important single word ever uttered by the human vocal cords!
I. God’s final word on His plan for sin
A) God’s plan to remove man’s debt (the curse)
Why was this cry of victory so important? It proclaims God’s plan is finished, accomplished, completed.
Based on the persons position or vocation in Greek/Roman society this word meant different things.
1) Servants would use this word when a job was completed. I did it, it’s completed I overcame the task! Jesus accepted and completed the mission to pay mans debt.
2) Priests, when a person brought their sacrifice to the priests, if it was acceptable, he would say, tetelestai. The symbolism, the ceremonies and the sacrifices make no sense until, It is finished! Jesus is the key that unlocks prophecy and history! 19:29 The hyssop plant was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the believers dwelling!
3) Merchants, when you owed something you would receive a receipt, when that bill was paid the receipt would have written on it, Paid in Full! God does not let sin go, the soul that sins must die!
4) Artists, after their art piece was finished they would step back and say, tetelestai! When Jesus cried this from the cross all the brush stokes of the Old Testament came together, all the blood of the sacrifices, all the festivals of celebration, the shadows now complete in the finished picture of redemption.
Why the cross? Why didn’t God just look the other way? God’s character of righteousness demands payment for the unimaginable debt sin accumulates.
Why not just do away with the pain, the suffering, the problem of sin?
Because God would have to do away with you!
God’s amazing gift of choice. This reflects Him!
1 Peter 1:18-20 (read) highlight 20
For God to remove all the pain and suffering He would have to remove every choice ever made including every human being that has ever lived!
B) God’s plan to reveal His love!
Instead of removing us He chose to redeem us.
Sin can either keep you from God or God will keep you from sin!
There was an article from Newsweek several years ago that was revealing when it comes to people response to Jesus famous last words. It was an article about the shame of sin. It revealed that churches have taken far too light an attitude toward sin today.