Summary: On the cross Jesus cries our "tetelestai" - It Is Finished. But where did "it" all start and what does "it" mean for us?
It Is Finished
Would you class yourself as a “stayer” or a “quitter”? Many of us can continue for the long haul if we think we are on a winning streak. But I think it is fair to say that many of us have a tendency is to stop before we have crossed the finished line.
If you don’t believe this is true, think about your own life for a moment. Is there
- a partly mowed lawn? - a half-read book?
- an unfinished letter? - an almost finished cross stitch?
- an abandoned diet? - au uncompleted kitchen?
- a car up on blocks?
It can happen to the best of us. Even Michelangelo, who is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, would often begin a project only to abandon it in a fit of anger. Amazingly, when he died he left more unfinished works than ones that were completed.
There are many things in life which can go unfinished. There are many people in this world who have gone to the grave without finishing what they really wanted to do. But Jesus isn’t one of those. Let’s read some passages from Scripture.
When He had received the drink Jesus said, “It is Finished.”
In the original language the actual word Jesus says is tetelestai … which means it is finished. The word sounds very unfamiliar to us, but in the days of Jesus it was a very common expression.
• A farmer would use it describe an animal so beautiful that it seemed to have no faults. He would look at his lamb and declare, Tetelestai!
• A carpenter, after finishing a perfect piece of furniture would smile and say, Tetelestai!
• An artist, after putting the finishing touches on a canvas would step back and pronounce, Tetelestai!
• A servant would return to his master after faithfully finishing his job and report, Tetelestai!
• And, perhaps most importantly, this was a banking term. When a person would fully pay off his debt, the banker would hand him a receipt with the word Tetelestai stamped on it.
When Jesus cries out tetelestai … it is finished He is proclaiming to the whole world that there is nothing left that needs to be done. That the assignment God gave Him was complete. And that no-one needed to add to His earthly ministry.
That is a very powerful statement to make; isn’t it? Right at this moment Jesus is saying, “I have done all that was necessary to give you a ticket to heaven”.
If Jesus can do what He says He can, then these words become very important for each one of us as we consider our relationship with God. So we are going to have a closer look at these words this morning and ask three questions.
It is finished – But where did it all begin?
Let’s go back to the garden of Eden … to Adam and Eve … and to the beginning of mankind. When we do that we realize how intimately God wants to be involved in our lives.
Think about all the detail God put into place.
The sun, moon and stars.
The trees, fruit, and open meadows.
The peace, tranquillity, and balance.
It was all there right from the beginning. God providing for all our needs, and so much more besides … doing it because He cares for us.
Or think about the responsibilities God gave to Adam and Eve.
You will be the ruler in all creation.
You have almost unlimited access to all the resources of creation.
The joy of filling this world with people and families is yours.
Imagine Adam’s face as God outlines the plan of action. God makes sure man knows how important he is in the overall scheme of things.
Or think about the fact that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening. You can be sure this was not a time of ideal chit-chat about the new spring lambs. This is a picture of intimacy – God showing Adam and Eve that He wanted to be involved in their life and at the centre of their heart. God being the best friend Adam ever knew.
God wanted to be part of our lives right from the very beginning … but as we look around now at the way people treat God we know that something has changed.
Satan did not like the strength of relationship there was between God and man, so Satan tried to break that intimacy by shifting our focus.
In our society we are very familiar with vandalism.
Vandalism is so destructive because it destroys and covers the item which has been vandalised. Things are made to look second rate.