When Jesus said "It is finished" He used the Greek word tetelestai. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was a shout of victory.
Tetelestia was a very common word in ancient Greek society with many meanings. When Jesus said these words on the cross, he was referring to each of the meanings:
- It was used by servants and employees who return to their master with news they had finished the task. Jesus had finished the task God had given him.
- It’s a legal term judges would use to announce that a prisoner had completely served his prison time. Jesus made sure that justice had been served for our sin.
- It was an accounting term meaning a debt had been paid in full. Jesus completely paid our debt.
- Artists used the term when painting a picture to denote their final stroke. Jesus’ sacrifice finished God’s great masterpiece by making it possible for the pinnacle of his creation—us—to be redeemed from our sin.
- Priests used the term when they offered a sacrifice to God to say, “The sacrifice has been made.” Jesus’ death on the cross was the sacrifice for our sin.
That one single word, tetelstia is what separates Christianity from every other religion on the planet. All other religions are about what you need to do to be right with God.
With one last breath, Jesus became our final sacrifice. And because of His power over death, we can now become wholly alive.
Fortunately for you and me, Jesus did finish the work God gave him.
“It is finished.”