January 2024 | Conversion: Persecutor Turns Promoter



Pr. Emmanuel P. G.

This pronouncement on the cross is the profoundest of all the sayings that it echoes and reechoes in the spiritual horizon of humanity past, present and future, and so its depths are unfathomable. 

It is finished is the goal to which every one is striving to and never able to realize. I looked at history of humanity, individual and imperial; of the advanced and the backward, and it is all just unfinished. Nothing is perfect from the view point of a human perfectionist. I looked at the searches of world religions seeking solutions for human problems and salvation of the soul, but no one has a final answer. But here is the Master Rabbi’s statement it is finished and we know that His testimony is true and He is the Truth.

When humanity cries out it is unfinished regarding their works, Jesus’ pronouncement It is finished regarding his mission, echoes to the desperate humanity the message of hope. It is the answer to the cosmic inadequacy of human efforts to workout a salvation and solace for their souls. How great it is to say it is finished regarding any mission one undertakes, and how much more astounding it is when the Savior of the world pronounces it to the souls/spirits of human kind.

What is finished? There are different angles from which this retrospective and prospective pronouncement can be theologically appreciated. 

1. The Mission Fulfilled

Primarily it is about the task – the work of salvation– the completion of the blue print.It is the mission of Jesus fulfilled, and the way opened through a total victory over sin and death.

The Death was Intentional

Jesus death was no accident, since he knew that the time had come for Him to go to the Father (John 13:1). He calls it the “hour for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23; 13; 31). When Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with the expensive nard Jesus tells them it is done as a prelude to His burial. In the High priestly prayer Jesus prays Father…now glorify your Son…I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Prior to the death on the cross, the final cup of suffering he warns, teaches and prepares his disciples, prays for them, and commits them into the care of the Father. 

The final baptism- the sacrificial death in his humanity, he was waiting with great distress (Lk. 12:50). The cup that he had to drink about which He had repeatedly told the disciples, which they seemingly had not properly understood, was that He had to be crucified for the revolutionary Gospel He had preached. And His Gospel had to be proven right by His sresurrection. 

Victory over Death

The final victory was to be over death, the greatest weapon of Satan, which the Son of Man undergoes and through resurrection defeats death also. Death has been swallowed up in victory 

(I Cor. 15:54-56).

The Greek word used is tetelestai, which literally translated means, “It is finished”.  The only two places in the New Testament where it occurs are in John 19:28 and 19:30. This tells us that he is not saying that the wine vinegar is finished, or that his life was over. In 19:28 it is translated, “After this, when Jesus knew that all things were now completed, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, he said, ‘I thirst.’” Two verses later, he utters the word himself: “Then when he received the sour wine Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (http://bible.org.)

So, obviously it’s a pronouncement about the completion of the task – the mission of Jesus Christ  in the earthly life is fulfilled.

2. A cry of victory

Secondly, it was a cry of victory uttered to the Father that the cup of suffering is successfully finished and the humiliation is forever over. No word ever would be more terrible to the Devil and his hosts, who knew what this meant for them, than this word, “It is finished.” No word, people of God, more blessed to believing sinners than this word that we hear tonight, “It is finished.” (Rev. Barry Gritters, Sermon preached on April 5, 1998 in Hudsonville, Michigan).

It was a cry of victory answered back to the Cosmic Cry in Revelations

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside..(Revelation 5:2-4)

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” 

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders (vv 5, 6).Colossians calls it as the inscription against us rewritten.

Bless the Lord O my soul for what He has done for you. You may be in absolute peace now, because the Lord said: “It is finished for you. I’ve done it for you.” It is cry of victory.

3. The Payment is Done

From a third perspective it means- The legal requirement is fully met – the total of the payment is done. The word tetelestai was also written on business documents or receipts in New Testament times to show indicating that a bill had been paid in full. 

The Greek-English lexicon by Moulton and Milligan says this:Payment “receipts are often introduced by the phrase tetelestai, usually written in an abbreviated manner...” (p. 630). The word means it is received in full, and the transaction is complete, no due remains.

The connection between receipts and what Christ accomplished would have been quite clear to John’s Greek-speaking readership; it would be unmistakable that Jesus Christ had died to pay for their sins, and that the payment is made in full. This miracle is possible only by the Lamb of God that carries away the sins of the world (John 1:30).

The wages of sin is death and the whole world has sinned and come short of the glory of God, as Paul portrays it (Rom. 6:23; 3:23, 24). The book of Leviticus lays down the requirementof sacrifices to atone sins which are to be repeated periodically because of the frailty of human minds and the incompetence of those sacrifices to cleanse the souls. So the pronouncements there would be it is not fully done.

But this sacrifice of the Lamb of God is once for all and final that it totally sets free all those who confess Him. Justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ they receive the gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23; 3:23, 24).The specialty of this sacrifice is Jesus himself is the lamb of God, the scape goat, and the priest/the mediator. 

He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption… How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God…that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed… (Hebrews 9:11-15).

So Tetelestai means my sins are forgiven; my estrangement is done with; I am free; cleansed, made righteous. What a joy? Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, when at the cross my savior made me whole. The peace of God that surpasses all understanding rules over my heart and the shame and punishment of sin is gone forever.

The cost is the suffering/ the cup, the cross, the baptism that Jesus wanted to undergo (Mk. 10:38). This is my body broken for you, this is my blood of the New Covenant--     My body broken for you - the true bread that gives everlasting life; and my blood shed for you drinking which you will never die. So, the tetelestai is the epoch pronouncement that every ounce of the energy is poured out for me. The suffering is over and the victory is on the anvil.

He said on the cross ‘all is done’. It is for me. So I don’t need to worry anymore. The kingdom and authority is now offered to me in Christ; and nothing else, no riches, no power, no pleasure can give me such great confidence as this. He has overcome the Devil and the ultimate enemy Death; and so I am victorious.

4. The Gap is filled: Humanity is 

    Promoted to a Glorious Estate

With the death of Jesus humanity is promoted to a new height of glory in the heavenly realms. And in Christ Jesus the entire band of believers enters into this heavenly fellowship (1 Joh 1:2-4; Eph. 1:18-20).  The Fellowship with God is the greatest Gift for the Children of God in Christ. So Tetelestai means it is done for those who follow Jesus Christ.The High-priestly prayer reflects how Jesus wants those who believe in him to be sanctified and unified with him in the Father (John 17:17-26). Father just as you are in me and I am in you May they also be in us (21) … I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one(22)I in them and you in me.I am the vine and you are the branches (John 15:1ff) also speaks about the unity of the believers with Christ.

5. The Atonement is Done

The New Testament uses the word atonement which has a high Old Testament background of the sacrifice as explained in Leviticus. But there are questions about how Jesus’ death can be seen as a sacrifice in the Old Testament pattern of sacrifices. 

To atone therefore means to make amends. In the Bible atonement is associated with man’s sin (Leviticus 16:29-30; 23:27-28). The people were to bring a sin offering, an innocent animal sacrifice “whose blood was brought in to make atonement”. Even though we see a perfect atonement and redemption of sin in Christ’s self-sacrifice, we do not see it as a parallel to the Old Testament sacrifice since Jesus’ sacrifice was not propitiatory in nature; though in effect it is. In other words Christ’s death on the cross was not portrayed as one that appeases the anger of the Father against the sins of the world. 

The word “atonement” in the Authorized Version of the Bible is an Old Testament term. It appears only once in the New Testament (Romans 5:11) where it is translated “reconciliation” in the Revised Version. It is not entirely fanciful to suggest the idea of at-one-mentbecause the word atonement is used to refer to the atoning death of Christ through which the sinner is reconciled to God, restored to His favor. In fact Jesus was crucified for preaching the Gospel of God’s grace, forgiveness, the advent of the Kingdom of God on earth, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and God’s gift of divine life by humans (John 10:34-39). Thus was Jesus’ death a ransom for many, including the gentiles and all the future believers. We are all seated along with Christ in divine glory. 

How Does Jesus Ransom Us?

So what then is the way Jesus rescues us? Jesus says, “The Son of Man came . . . to give his life as a ransom for many.” He gives his life for the many. That is, he dies for many. The ransom price is his life. This is why the Bible says again and again that Christ died to save us. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We were “justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9). “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). “He bore our sins in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18)that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. 


So, it is the cry of victory won out of the love for humanity, dipped in blood and soaked in pain. The patripassianism is complete - the Father’s pain to forgo the son on the cross for the sake of the victory it would bring; and the pain of the Son asking Father why have you forsaken me.Like the mother who forgets the labor pain when she sees the face of the child born (John 16:21, 22). Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and now sits down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2). 

Often children do not understand the pain the parents undergo for them to amend their mistakes. This is what is seen on the cross- the Son of God is expressing His love through the innocent suffering to save the mistaken human kind. The cross declares the suffering love, and the forgiving grace of God. The passion to save the lost world is complete on the cross. 

No pain no gain. The apostles too were happy for being considered worthy to partake in the suffering of Christ Acts 5:26…). 

Consider Him (this Jesus) so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Heb.12:3).

So, Jesus is the answer for all my problems- uncertainties, cries, wants, sufferings, discouragements, He is my `everything’and he is my all; both great and small. Counselor comforter, provider, burden bearer, 

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 

I receive it by faith, by believing. I say, I know that is true for me.

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