As we travel together through the book of John, we’re examining the seven statements Jesus made from the cross. Last week we looked at Jesus’ fifth statement, “I thirst.” (see previous post The 7 Statements of Jesus from the Cross: Statement 5 “I thirst”)
Today we’ll examine Jesus’ sixth statement from the cross:
“It is finished”John 19:30
Our Enemy Entropy
On May 5th, I was working on our raised garden beds project.
On May 14 we were filling the finished raised garden beds with dirt. (By “we” I mean mostly Kathy and Charise.)
Today, the garden beds are finished. And the finished project hosts a garden that’s producing food. (Here we see Muggles inspecting Kathy’s work.)
But already there’s a problem. Look at the first picture and notice how beautiful the grain in the cedar wood appears. I’ve mentioned before how I took great care in choosing the best looking pieces for the most visible parts of the project. But the sun shines on those raised garden beds, and rain falls on them, and the dog scratches them. And now, just a few weeks later, they’re not what they used to be. Already our beautiful raised garden beds have started on their march along the way of the whole earth. (1 Kings 2:1-2)
The day before yesterday I was on the phone with a firefighter friend who’s body is starting to let him down. A few months ago he sneezed and dislocated a rib. Less than a week ago he sneezed again and it caused a brain bleed. This guy is tough. He’s in shape. But today he’s in Oregon Health & Science University hospital being treated for a stroke. (He told me he has to figure out a way to stop sneezing!) A few weeks ago I was praying with a friend about how his old vehicle is breaking down. When we bought our house, not that long ago, the paint looked great! Today we’re in the process of repainting it. If I stop working out, in just a few weeks I’m out of shape again and I have to start all over. When I clean the kitchen in a few hours it’s dirty again.
My friend in the hospital will eventually die, even if his doctor’s intervention is successful. My other friend’s vehicle will eventually wind up in the junk yard. Our house will eventually be bulldozed. No matter how great of shape I’m in, I will eventually “go the way of all the earth,” as David said to his son Solomon.
I’m so very weary of our constant battle against entropy (the natural gradual decline of the material into disorder). In the end, I lose and entropy wins — every time! I’ve been battling the deterioration of the material for years, and now as I look across the battlefield I see nothing but more entropy marching toward me, a massive army, an invincible army.
Jesus’ Eternal Work
But then there’s Jesus.
“It is finished,” he said, as he hung there on the cross.
His work is so different than mine. His work is eternal. His work is summed up in one word: “Tetelestai.”
Tetelestai is the original Greek word used to quote what Jesus said on the cross in his sixth statement. We need three English words to translate it, but in the original, there’s just that one word: “Tetelestai.”
“It is finished.”
Jesus’ project, Jesus’ mission, Jesus’ work is finally finished. And that word, “tetelestai” is what’s used to describe it. I’m told it was a word used by merchants in Jesus’ day to mean the price is paid in full. Servants would use the word “tetelestai” to report in to their masters that their work was complete. Jesus the servant who said, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” is reporting in. He’s saying to his Master, and to the world, and to you, and to me:
“The price is paid in full!”
“The ransom demand is met!”
“Because the ransom is paid, give your life to me and you can be free!”
So much of what I do here on earth, moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But Jesus’ work, Jesus’ finished work, it lasts forever. It’s eternal. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus has defeated entropy. Though heaven and earth pass away, Jesus’ finished work will never pass away.
He is the way and the truth and the life, and his way, and his truth, and his life, and his finished work on our behalf is eternal.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:55-57