When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
I love to-do lists. In fact, I’m one of those people who will do something, then write it down just so I can cross it off a list. There is great satisfaction in finishing what we set out to accomplish. The feeling escalates when we finish a semester of school, a big work project or a long-term goal. We can finally breathe a sigh of relief and relax a bit. Our work is finished…for now.
While there is great satisfaction in little achievements along the way, there is always a sense of more work to do. The next day or the next semester will bring more work. We will have a new mission with new tasks, new projects, and new things to do. The feeling of finality is only short-lived. Yet when Jesus hangs on the cross at the end of his life, he says, “It is finished.”
This exclamation is unique. This short phrase “It is finished” is one word in the Greek, “Tetelestai.” The word carries with it the idea of completing, fulfilling, and bringing to an end. All of this takes place in this moment. The finished work on the cross changed the course of history.
Jesus completes the work that his Father sent him to accomplish, and in doing so he fulfills Scripture. In dying on the cross, he brings an end to the penalty for sins. Jesus provides a once-for-all sacrifice for our sins. The enemy is defeated and humanity is restored. The completed work of Christ has huge ramifications for us as we go about our lives. Through faith in Christ, we experience new life in Him. As Hebrews 10:10 says, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Today, reflect on the words, “It is finished.” Do you believe these words? Do you try to add anything to what Christ has done, or do you rest in what He has accomplished?
By Billy Berglund