At no point since the creation of the world was there ever a moment when Jesus lived unclear of what his love for us would bring him to. Never a juxtapose when he questioned who he was, or whom he was coming for. He knew. His purpose was certain. He watched man walk in the grace of God in a garden, and he saw the second sin erupted onto the scene and devastated the glory of his handiwork. And a plan was already in place…
Death began ravaging his people, and instead of scrapping all of creation he stepped in to rescue. Stepping in was costly, it was ultimate — and he also knew that with clarity, so when he, in guttural pain, uttered the word: “Tetelestai,” it might as well have been tidal in nature… it was a declaration of life. A way was made, access was established, hope was offered. There was nothing left undone in order to restore relationship and rescue his people from the ravages of the thief. “It is finished.”
“Jesus said ‘It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” — John 19:30
My kids are dabbling in Latin, and so I’m starting to reclaim some attention to the whole concept of verb tense, and the depth of meaning that a simple tense usage can carry. In this case, the Greek word “Tetelestai,” was used in the perfect tense — which indicates an action completed in the past, but which still is in effect up through the present. It mattered then. It matters now. And it will matter for every generation thereafter. It’s not happenstance this tense was used. With great intentionality and tremendous love, when he could have been turned in on himself, he was still thinking of us. With one word, he declared the gospel, comforted our restless hearts, and silenced the threat of death. With one word he defeated our fears of inadequacy, of never being enough, of hopelessness and of eternal separation. He ushered in life and offered freedom. As he was dying, he knew exactly what he was doing and exactly what he was saying. It was brilliant. It was love-inspired. And it draws me towards him. In that moment, when Jesus caught up his last breath, he won a war, and he beckoned hearts.
And so how could we do anything less than proclaim it?! How could we not look at the ones we love and revel over our rescues? We have been granted access, claimed and adored, unburdened and unleashed. And so, on Sunday, all over the world, in and out of church gatherings and homes, in corporate unison and in the silent solitude we will sing praises, worship, acknowledge with our words that Jesus, the son of God, died to take away the sins of the world. He came, he died, he rose, and he is coming again.
“They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” — Psalm 22:31
Today, if you weren’t sure, you are part of the greatest love story ever told. And if you were hoping for someone to emulate as you run towards the assignments of your life, you can gaze at the One who was sure of his purpose and declared it, even as he suffered and sacrificed… and by his wounds we are healed. Tetelestai; it is finished.