Hours had passed when we hear the cry from Jesus… a “loud” cry according to the witnesses of the Gospel. Maybe even a shout, as unlikely as that would be from one gasping for His final breaths on the cross.
He had been given something to moisten His parched tongue and dried throat. With a mighty effort.. the only way this could be done… He pressed all of His weight against the nails piercing His feet… and exhaled ONE WORD: “Tetelestai.” In the original language, one word would translate three into English: It. Is. Finished.
This was no cry of defeat or of one succumbing to death. This was the One who turned the wood of the cross into a throne, and the gaping, harassing mob into an audience with one focus: Himself.
It is finished. What is finished? His life? His suffering? His passion on the cross?
The word itself has an interesting use in Greek. Normally, it was applied in writing to a receipt to show a bill had been satisfied. We would write, “paid in full.”
But it was also used in legal jurisdictions and would be sometimes written over a charge made against a prisoner. Once his prison term had ended, his document of freedom was the one that had written, “tetelestai… paid in full.”
Maybe some of all of this was meant when Jesus shouted victoriously. The bill… the debt of sin incurred since Adam’s fall had been satisfied by His sacrifice. The legal penalty against all who had sinned had been met in the sacrifice of Jesus.
By His cross, Jesus had fully paid, “the handwriting of ordinances that were against us,” by His perfect blood and sacrifice. The debt is no longer owed. The law now has no power to exact a penalty from us.
It is finished. Those who belong to Jesus have their debt erased… their sins forgiven. Nothing else need be done… nothing else can be done but to trust in the precious blood of Jesus. As the hymn writer put it;
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
IT IS FINISHED!