Summary: seeks to answer what Jesus meant by, "It is finished!!"

“It Is Finished!”

John 19:23-30

David P. Nolte

It’s always easier to start something than to finish it. My father-in-law started building a boat. It was about 18 feet long. It was to have an inboard engine. It was to have a small cabin. But he ran out of time before running out of stuff to finish. He had to dispose of the boat when they moved from Gladstone to Turner.

Probably all of us can remember some unfinished project, maybe something we “will get around to completing some of these days.”

People have their own ideas of what “finished” means; for some it is a half-baked , slap-dab job; for others a task is never quite finished because they are such perfectionists.

And people have their own time-lines for completion. When I was about 3 years old, my sister once told me to come to dinner. I told her, “In a minute.” A minute passed, and she said, “Come on. You said, ‘In a minute.’” My response, “A minute is not up ‘til you’re through what your doing.”

One Greek word is translated by three English words. The Greek word is “tetelestai” and the English words are, “It Is Finished.” This was one of seven statements uttered by Jesus while He was on the cross. Let’s check the text:

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’ Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He *said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:23-30 (NASB).

Some mistakenly think that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant “It’s all come to an end.; I’m done for and it’s all over!” But there is no note of defeat – this is a cry of exultation and victory! When Jesus cried, “Tetelestai!” He was saying three things:


A. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17:3-4 (NASB).

1. Not a deed left undone.

2. Not a responsibility left unfulfilled.

3. Not a duty neglected.

B. What was that work?

1. He came to work for God’s glory. We read, “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” John 9:1-3 (NASB).

2. Jesus read from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’" Luke 4:16-21 (NASB).

3. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 (NASB).

4. Jesus had a clear purpose and that was to do the will of the Father Who sent Him!

C. In short, He came from Heaven to earth to bring Good News of salvation and freedom and to introduce us to God and to make access to God possible.

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