“It is Finished”: The Real Meaning and Power of Jesus’ Last Words

John 19:30 “When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost”

The word “it is finished” is interpreted in the Greek language to mean “Tetelestai”. The passive tense for the word Telos means to end, to accomplish, to bring to completion, to bring to a conclusion, to fulfill, or to finish.

It is said that anything that has reached Telos has arrived at completion, maturity, or perfection. These was the last words of Jesus before He bowed His head and died for us on the cross of Calvary. 4

The word “it is finished” is an ordinary word to so many people but to others who know it’s efficacy, it means a lot. Why have we placed so much significance on the last statements of Christ Jesus and what power does it convey to us as Christians.

We will be examining these last words of Christ and what it signifies, means, and the power it carries for us as Christians and how we can utilize it effectively in our lives.

1: Jesus has finished the work the Father sent him to do

The Bible said that Jesus cried out with a loud voice “It is finished” and bowed His head and yielded the ghost. The work have been completed. In that moment when Jesus cried out, He was exclaiming to the Father and the entire universe that he had faithfully fulfilled the Father’s will and that the mission was now accomplished.

Just like a servant sent on a mission by his master will return and bow his head and tell the master “Tetelestai” meaning “I have done exactly what you requested” or “The mission is now accomplished” in that moment Jesus exclaimed, Tetelestai, bowed His head and yielded the ghost.

This is like when a human father sends his son on a mission or high powered meeting to represents his interest, the son goes and returns with the exact expectation of the father, and gladly comes before the father and tells him he had done what he wants, it might come at a high price but he got it anyway.

This is presenting here, the price for the great assignment given to Jesus was accomplished at a great price and Jesus exclaimed at that moment that it was finished, he had achieved the Father’s will and aim at the cost of His blood, but it doesn’t matter, what mattered was the victory over the kingdom and the light it brought to the universe.

Remember in Isaiah 6:8, the words says “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I send me”. There was a time the Father was looking for whom to send in the heavens and Jesus volunteered to go, knowing what He was to face. He came, saw it, conquered it and obtained victory at the cost of His life, for His blood was all that was needed.

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So when he exclaimed it is finished, He was telling the Father I have accomplished this assignment at the cost of my life as you had commanded me to do.

2: No more sacrifices for sins and forgiveness by the High priest

The high priest enters into the Holy of Holies annually to pour the blood of a sacrificial spotless lamb on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant for the atonement of the sins of men, when the blood touches the mercy seat, atonement was made for the people’s sins for one year.

After this sacrifice the high priest exclaims “Tetelestai” which is the Hebrew word equivalent to it is finished. The high priest gets to enter into that Holy of Holies behind the veil when another year of atonement comes, and so it goes on and on.

The Spotless goats and bulls couldn’t give forgiveness but could only give a covering. When Jesus hung on the cross, He was both the lamb and the high priest. In that moment as our Great High Priest, Jesus offered His own blood for the permanent removal of sin and forgiveness. He offered up the perfect sacrifice of which every mosaic sacrifice was a type and symbol and in that instant He exclaimed, It is finished.

There remained no more sacrifice for the removal of sin. Jesus entered into the holy place and offered His own blood, a sacrifice so complete that God never again required the blood of lambs for forgiveness.

As Hebrew 9:12 says “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal salvation for us”.

He made sure we never had to be slaves to sin and death. He offered up His blood so that the veil that prevents us from entering into the holy place will be torn and we will have access to the presence of God.

He offered His blood that the Father may see us in the mirror of His son’s blood and make us approachable unto Him. Apostle Peter confirms this to us in 1peter 1:18-19 saying “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversations received by traditions from your father’s. But with the precious blood of Christ Jesus, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” the blood of Jesus was used as the great sacrifice for the atonement of our sins and after that there remaineth no more sacrifice to be offered, for it is a once and for all thing.

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Thus, when Jesus exclaimed “It is finished” He was declaring the end of sacrifices because the ultimate sacrifice had finally been made. Atonement was completed, perfected, and fully accomplished. It was done once and for all, finished forever.

3: It means the debt was fully paid

It means the debt was fully paid on the cross of calvary by Jesus Christ

In the ancient business times of the Greek, when a debt had been fully paid off. The receipt of the payment will be stamped Tetelestai, which means the debt had been paid in full and the debtor is free from all debt and free to go, also when a slave pays for his freedom or serves his master to freedom, that slaves is declared free because by the law he has paid in full all that is required for his freedom.

Jesus Christ fully paid the debt on the cross and that is why he exclaimed it is finished. The weight of the sins of the entire universe which was caused by Adam and Eve was hanging heavily upon him, even though He was innocent.

He chose to bear it that the world might be saved through His blood. When Jesus hung in that cross, He exclaimed it is finished and yielded the ghost, at that point every debt hanging on the head of everyone was fully paid and we were all stamped with the seal Tetelestai meaning paid in full.

Therefore anyone who accepts Jesus and personally accepts His sacrifice, no debt of sin exists for that person any longer. The debt of sin is wiped out because Jesus already paid the ultimate price for sin that no sinner could ever pay.

Jesus took our place and paid the debt of sin we owed once and for all. We were purchased by His precious blood as stated in Acts 20:28. When we by faith repent and receive Him as Lord and saviour i.e. at salvation, we are set free from past records.

That is the whole essence of it is finished. That is why Paul wrote in Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. That is why it is always said that salvation is free because Christ Jesus has paid all debt accrued to our account. We can’t be held down by any debt of sin because His redemptive blood has paid once and for all.

When Jesus uttered the word “It is finished” it was His declaration that the debt was fully satisfied, paid, fulfilled and complete. His blood utterly and completely cleansed us forever. It was far-reaching and all-embracing for us all who put our hope and faith in Him.

4: It means a turning point

In classical Greek times, the word Tetelestai depicted a turning point when one period ends and another new period began.

When Jesus exclaimed “It is finished” it was indeed a turning point in the entire history of mankind, for at that moment, the old testament came to an end i.e. finished and the new testament began.

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The cross of Jesus was the Great divide between the old and the new. When Jesus shouted It is finished, He was saying that the old covenant had ended and the new covenant had began.

That statement signifies that the old testament prophecies about Jesus and His earthly ministry were fulfilled. The assignment given Him by God have been fully met and satisfied by Jesus.

Every sacrifice of the old testament permanently ceased because the perfect sacrifice has laid down His life for the salvation of all mankind. Jesus mission on earth was accomplished, thus He could cry out that His task was complete and satisfied.

Jesus was willing and has offered his own spotless blood for the full payment of our sins, we are totally debt-free and stamped “paid in full” because Jesus has paid the ultimate price for our redemption with His own blood. In Isaiah 53:4-5, it says “surely He had born our grief’s, and carried out sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed”.

So if you are consumed with grief, remember that Jesus bore your grief. If you are overwhelmed with sorrows, He carried your sorrow. If you are trapped in a life of transgression, remember He was wounded for your transgressions.

If you are living in sin, you can be forgiven because He was bruised for your sins. If you are tormented and have no peace, He was chastised for your peace and if you are physically or mentally sick, He was wiped and His stripes are for your healing.

Jesus paid the price of salvation, liberation, physical healing, and complete restoration. When He was through paying all our debt with His blood and life, He bowed His head and died. It was the fulfillment of one and the beginning of another.

Consider how much it cost Jesus to exclaim “It is finished”. If every debt and credit card bill you owed was suddenly paid off, how would you feel?. Jesus paid in full your debt of sin, have you considered the far-reaching implication of that truth. Sickness, torment, grief and guilt have no right to oppress you or demand anything from you.

Jesus paid those bills, canceled those debt,s and left you with zero balance, with an increased positive balance when you are fully redeemed, so that you don’t return to where He brought you from. The question we should ask ourselves is, How should that truth influence what we say and do on a daily basis?

Jesus paid the price completely and He exclaimed “IT IS FINISHED”.


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