Tetelestai – It is Finished

I recently read a post by Michael Deputy that talked about his Blog Direction. He brought a good point up: Focus on what’s important. Well today I am doing just that. I am a Christian as I say plainly in many locations and in my about us page. I am thinking I may periodically post something from the Bible, perhaps lessons from the Bible that work in our jobs, perhaps just my thoughts. The focus here is technology and will remain technology but I feel led to share a bit. If you don’t want to read these posts, I understand and I’ll tag them “Bible”. I wrestled with posting or not but I really can’t find any great reasons not to.

Tetelestai!

Today is the day that we remember what Jesus Christ did for us over 2,000 years ago. After living for 30 to 33 years, fulfilling over 300 specific Old Testament prophecies He paid the ultimate price for someone else. He gave His life in the cruelest form of death known to man (The Crucifixion, an “art” mastered by the Romans is where we get our word excruciating). He was tortured by “expert” torturers who flogged him, tearing flesh from his body and bringing him very near to death. He was nailed to a cross and had His fellowship with His Heavenly Father broken for a moment.

As 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, Christ became sin for us: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The perfect, sinless Christ took on my sins, He took on your sins and received our punishment. The pain He must have felt when for the first time His dad wasn’t there when He looked for him. The pain he felt when he cried out “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani!?” or “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?”

Christ wasn’t a victim here though. He willingly came to pay this sin debt. He was the Creator God, robed in human flesh coming to redeem His people. He changed the lives He encountered, He gave hope and when He went to the cross He became our redeemer. He died so we don’t ever have to if we choose not to.

Before He died, He cried out “Tetelestai!” This is often translated as “It is finished” and that translation is an accurate translation… But did you know how Tetelestai was also used in New Testament times? It was used as an accounting term. It was written on a bill, on an account and it meant “Paid in Full”, it meant that account was now closed, the debtee no longer owed anything. The Bible is clear that Christ’s death on the cross was the full payment of a sin debt that we all owe. As one of the great hymns declares, “Jesus paid it all” and He paid it in full.

This sin debt? According to the Bible in Romans 6:23 that sin debt is death, eternal separation from God, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Who owes that debt? The Bible declares that we all do. It declares that there is none good, no not one. How much sin makes us guilty and worthy of that debt? Just one sin, God’s standard is perfect holiness and we fall short often if we are honest with ourselves. That has us in deserve of death, but what’s this gift mentioned in Romans 6:23?

We learn in various verses but Romans 5:8 shows it to us clearly, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God shows his love toward us through Christ’s death on the cross. God is a righteous God with a Holy standard. He is also a God of Love and he balances that perfectly with his Righteousness. Our sin demands payment, if God is to be fair and maintain perfect balance, He MUST demand this payment. He Loves us though. That’s where the cruel cross of Calvary comes in. Jesus was cursed for us, He became our sin and when He died His death had the potential to pay for our total sin debt.

Only a potential payment? How do we actualize it? By believing, by putting aside our own feeble attempts (Paul called his own attempts at holiness before meeting Christ on the Damascus road, “Dung!”) to somehow deserve Heaven – we don’t and we can’t, if we are honest with ourselves we see our faults, we see our sin and just one sin is enough to fall short of God’s holy standard. We need to put aside our own feeble attempts at saving ourselves and trust in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Romans 10:9 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

If we trust in Christ’s completed work on the cross we shall be saved. Free from the wrath that we rightfully deserve. Free from the bonds of sin and freer than you could imagine. I used to scoff at the notion. I thought it was about my own works, losing joy and being a slave to a church and I hated the thought of organized religion. About 9 years ago, I asked Christ into my heart, I trusted in His finished work on the cross to pay for my sins. I have never been freer or happier.

The Resurrection

This is my favorite weekend of the year. Friday is filled with both joy and sorrow. Joy because I know the resurrection happened, because I know Jesus proved victorious over the cross, over the grave and over death. Sorrowful because I know it was for my sins that He died, because I know that I still sin and know that so many I love and care about don’t believe.

Christmas is great, Christ was born but without Good Friday and the Resurrection that birth would matter little. His crucifixion was powerful but without that triumph over the grave it would be the end. Jesus would have faded from memory, His followers would have died out, His story would have died down in just a few decades or perhaps centuries. With His resurrection, His empty tomb, Christianity has stood, grown and thrived. He has proven that believers will never die. His word tells us that when He died, a believer’s old nature was with Him, our sins are dead, they were buried. When he arose victorious we arose with Him, a new creation, a new creature as 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us.

Death lost it’s sting. Satan was bruised as predicted in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The seed of the women (Who could only be the virgin born Christ, the man has the seed…), Jesus’ victory over the tomb and death was a head blow to Satan. Jesus was wounded in the process but it was a heel wound. He suffered on the cross and before the cross, He was buried but He didn’t stay buried!

The resurrection has also stood to many tests. Folks know that if you can destroy the resurrection, you can destroy Christianity. You make Jesus a liar, you make the Bible a fairy tale with lies. Many have sought to destroy the account only to be overwhelmed by it’s proof. Just one example:

Simon Greenleaf – Legendary jurist and law professor, co-founder of Harvard University Law School. His 3 volume series, Treatise on the Law of Evidence was a text book used long after his death and still referenced. He was an ardent non-believer. His students asked him to apply his treatise on evidence to the resurrection account. He agreed and set out on a mission to destroy the account only to conclude that the evidence was overwhelming and he wrote a book detailing his findings, Testimony of the Evangelists.

This weekend, I will get to go to a “Son Rise” service at my church. We’ll worship our risen Lord, we’ll celebrate His power over the grave. Sing some of my most favorite hymns (Because He Lives, Up From the Grave He Arose, etc) and have a great time of fellowship. Then we’ll get to head to an Easter service with song and word and I’ll have my normal Sunday evening Faith Bible Institute class. I try to remember His death and resurrection each day but this is a special remembrance and I love it.

This is finished

Thanks for letting me share. It is my hope that you have this same joy this weekend. That you can celebrate the risen Lord who died for your sins. If you don’t, you can. It’s a decision you can make on your own and it’s between you and God. Those verses above tell you how and your life will be forever changed if you do. This can be the first Easter you celebrate a real celebration. This can be the first Easter you give up on your own attempts at earning or “deserving” something the Bible clearly tells us we can’t earn on our own.

One little SQL bit to add to this post, check out Phil Factor’s post about calculating Easter.

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12 Comments

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  1. RBarryYoung April 11, 2009 at 06:10 #

    I was privileged to read the scripture from Mark on Thursday evening at church: "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?", probably the most misunderstood of Christ’s last words, for rather than an expression of abject despair it is actually a quote from Psalm 22 which proclaims the opposite, of God’s ultimate victory in the face of apparent despair.

    I inlcude it here because it’s retelling is part of the prophecy that it foretells:

    1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; 8 "Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver – let him rescue the one in whom he delights!" 9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. 10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

    11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 12 Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled; 17 I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.

    22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. 26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. 28 For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, 31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

  2. mike April 11, 2009 at 11:23 #

    Thanks for the great comment. It definitely is a quote from the Psalms, showing one more fulfilled prophecy in Jesus’ life and death. 333 prophecies were literally fulfilled by Him. I believe while it was filled with the promise of victory as prophesied I also believe that He was pained when He cried it out. That He was bearing the full weight of the sins of the world.

  3. Jeremyc April 13, 2009 at 05:09 #

    You mean its possible to be both DBA and Christian…hmmm ..here i was thinking i was the only one… :)

  4. Mike Walsh April 13, 2009 at 11:35 #

    Jeremy, thanks for the reply :-) Always great to hear about other Christians.

    I actually know of quite a few others in the DBA space also. I am going to see if I have enough time to try and organize a prayer breakfast for this years PASS Summit in Seattle in fact.

  5. Jeremyc April 14, 2009 at 06:41 #

    Hey Mike
    Dont plan on going to PASS, but who knows what HE has in store …
    you know any out in the middle east?

  6. Mike Walsh April 14, 2009 at 17:47 #

    I don’t know anyone out in the Middle East and yes who knows about PASS, I am planning on attending but the plans are obviously all Lord willing :)

  7. Jason April 25, 2009 at 18:25 #

    Thanks for posting the Tetelestai. There is a Christian Artist by the name of Sandra Perini that has created a piece known as the Tetelestai Cross :It is Finished. She has a beautiful depiction for those that would like to view it (http://cross-sculpture.com/) and I believe other samples of her work can be found at http://www.amariahart.com

  8. Mike Walsh April 27, 2009 at 00:57 #

    That is beautiful. Thanks for the link, Jason. It is ALL finished. The best part is it is finished by Him. If it were up to us, if it were up to our works, if it were up to me to stay saved (or even to taste salvation for a brief moment) it would never happen. Our own feeble attempts are finished, our sin debt is paid and paid in full, finished, tetelestai. Heard a great illustration today at church. It was an imagined short fictional story based on the reality of what Jesus did for us. Rather than retype it, I just searched for it and came up with: http://goodnewsforall.org/article.aspx?ID=19

    Thanks for the comment and God Bless.

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