Summary: The power behind the word tetelestai proclaims victory for man. Our sin account is paid in full. All future charges are automatically covered.
a. This morning as we continue our series The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross we focus on Christ’s fifth statement made from the cross.
b. In the statement we will evaluate today, Christ, with three simple words, proclaims the ultimate victory in a life-long struggle for man—not His struggle, but ours.
c. He proclaimed victory over the day-to-day struggle with everything that would keep us from the presence of God.
2. Victory is proclaimed.
a. A short time earlier, prior to His passion, Jesus had prayed what we now refer to as the High Priestly Prayer.
b. He knew His suffering was coming to an end and His glorification was getting closer and as part of His prayer, He prayed this. Read John 17:4–5—I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(1) In this passage Jesus spoke as if He had already died, been buried, and risen again.
(2) He had glorified the Father by His sinless life, His miracles, His suffering and now He would glorify the Father by His death and resurrection.
(3) He had finished the work of salvation the Father had given Him to do.
(4) The English theologian J. C. Ryle puts it this way:
The crucifixion brought glory to the Father. It glorified His wisdom, faithfulness, holiness, and love. It showed Him wise, in providing a plan whereby He could be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.—It showed Him faithful in keeping His promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.—It showed Him holy, in requiring His law's demands to be satisfied by our great Substitute.—It showed Him loving, in providing such a Mediator, such a Redeemer, and such a Friend for sinful man as His co-eternal Son.
The crucifixion brought glory to the Son. It glorified His compassion, His patience, and His power. It showed Him most compassionate, in dying for us, suffering in our stead, allowing Himself to be counted sin and a curse for us, and buying our redemption with the price of His own blood.—It showed Him most patient, in not dying the common death of most men, but in willingly submitting to such pains and unknown agonies as no mind can conceive, when with a word He could have summoned His Father's angels, and been set free.—It showed Him most powerful, in bearing the weight of all transgressions of the world, and vanquishing Satan, and despoiling him of his prey.
(5) Jesus’ prayer was reasonable because before He came into the world, He was in heaven with the Father.
(a) When the angels looked upon Jesus, they saw all the glory of Deity. To every one of their eyes, He was obviously God.
(b) But when He came to earth among men, the glory of His Deity was veiled, hidden. Though He was still God, it was not apparent unless He chose to reveal it.
(c) On earth He was seen merely as the carpenter's Son.
(d) So Jesus is praying that the visible signs of His glory in heaven might be restored. The words “glorify Me in your presence” mean “glorify Me in Your presence in heaven. Let the original glory that I shared with You before My Incarnation be resumed.”
c. Read 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.
d. From the cross that was to be an end to this menace to both the Jewish and Roman empires, Christ announces to the world that all is finished.
e. He is not arrogant or pompous. Knowing He has defeated the greatest evil in the world He doesn’t shout, “I win. You lose.”
f. With one word He sums up the whole of man’s redemption—finished.
(1) Finished was the work His Father had given Him to do.
(2) Finished was the full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, freely offered in satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.
(3) Finished was the bridge between man and God.
3. The goal for which He came into the world had been accomplished.
a. “It is finished.” In Greek the word is tetelestai, τετέλεσται, which comes from the noun, telos, τέλος, which means a purpose or a goal.
(1) Jesus’ goal was to save sinners.
(2) He revealed the Father to those the Father had given Him out of the world. Read John 17:6—I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.
(3) The angels announced it before He was even born.
(a) Read Matthew 1:21—She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.