During this Holy Week, Christians across the globe reflect on the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ while the Jewish community observes the pesach, which is the Feast of Passover, on Friday.
On a more personal note, I set aside time yearly to read and reflect on the account of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion in the Synoptic Gospels. During my reflection, I was astonished by three simple and final words of Jesus, “It is finished.” John 19:30
Our Saviour was on the Cross for about six hours before dying. Those six hours must have felt like 6,000 years at some point and, when He knew that it was over, he cried out, “It is finished!” He did not say, “I am finished” for that would imply that He died defeated and exhausted.
The Bible says He drew a deep breath and shouted with a loud voice, “It is finished!” Dutch Sheets, in his sermon ‘The Final Week’, explained that it’s actually one word in both Hebrew and Greek.
Amidst His agony, Jesus ensured that every prophecy about Him was fulfilled. It’s amazing – in this state, in this condition, He had the awareness to still say, “Now I must fulfill Psalm 22:31” where his death was prophesied.
‘They shall come and shall declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born – that He has done it (that it is finished)! Psalm 22:31 AMP
The last word of that psalm is ‘Asah’, which means to finish or accomplish something. It’s fascinating that it’s indeed one of two primary Hebrew words for creation, used over and over to describe creation in the beginning.
When Jesus shouted ‘Asah’, He was literally quoting Psalm 22 and used the Hebrew word. He was not only saying, “I’ve finished what I came to do”, but decreeing that the new creation could come forth.
The Greek word used for finish is ‘Tetelestai’ – the word used in that day to stamp on an invoice, ‘Paid in full’.
It’s a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. It’s the word you use when you reach the peak of Mount Everest. It’s the word you use when you cross the finish line of your first 10k run. The word means more than just ‘I survived’; it means “I did exactly what I set out to do.”
So, whether in Greek or Hebrew, Jesus was saying, “I’ve accomplished my goal. I finished the task. I’ve brought forth a new creation, and the debt is paid in full!”
Jesus finished his earthly life and ministry in 33 years; did all his Father’s will and completed His mission at His prime. He’s the perfect Passover Lamb who willingly sacrificed Himself for our redemption.
As we commemorate the Feast of Passover, let’s echo the battle cry of the Moravians – “May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
Jesus is very real to me. There are 4,000 religions in the world. We can follow a religion, be reformed by the teaching, and turn over a new leaf to be a better person. But what Jesus does is He literally transforms an individual into a brand new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
That’s the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ. I’m excited to tell you today that Jesus is alive and has conquered death, sin, and the grave! He is a true finisher. Will you follow Him?