It is FINISHED, Red Letter Easter!
Have you ever sat and read through the New Testament and read ONLY the words in red? Jesus’ words. For a completely new perspective, I challenge us to do just that. I know context is everything, but let’s step out of the exegesis box (interpreting the scriptures) for a brief moment, to get an amazing snapshot of Jesus, His strength, authority, His love, and compassion.
Without all the narrative, those stand-alone red words pack a powerful punch, knowing they are Jesus. There are dramatic statements, strong commands, and tender words. “Let it be so…” (Matthew 3:15) “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4) “Get up…” (Matthew 9:6) “Take courage it is I…” (Matthew 14:27) “Quiet, be still…” (Mark 4:39) “Come forth …” (John 11:43) “Don’t be afraid just believe…” (Mark 5:36) “What do you want Me to do for you…” (Mark 10:51) “Who do you say I am…” (Luke 9:20) “Then neither do I condemn you...” (John 8:11) “I am He…” (John 18:6).
These are just a few, but there is one more that stands out among the rest. Here I do want to set the context. Jesus is agonizingly set between two thieves. His feet and hands are nailed to a wooden cross. There at the foot of the cross, many mocked, some cried and I am confident there were those in complete silence. After the vinegar water was given to Jesus, He said “It is FINISHED…” (John 19:30 emphasis mine) He then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
It is finished. (Hang with me, this is GOOD God stuff!) The word in Greek is amazing! Stand back and take in the whole Technicolor filled screen, I don’t think even Steven Spielberg with all his creative genius could convey the scene that was unfolding upon humanity. It is finished, (Tetelestai) “To bring to an end, to fulfill. What is done corresponds to what has been said, ordered or commanded. (“Not My will, but Your will be done.” – Jesus, Luke 22:42, Matthew 26:39) It is accomplishing something not merely to end it, but bring it to perfection for its designed goal.”* (Please read that again) It signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. Grammatically in the Greek, it is a crucial word; it is in the ‘perfect tense.’ Meaning the action was completed in the past with results continuing in the present. Basically, “This happened and it is still in effect TODAY.” One might say, “The gift that keeps on giving.” This is different from ‘past tense’ which points to an event, declaring ‘This happened.’ Nothing more. The end.
NOT our Jesus, He is our NOW God!
As Jesus said this, His blood flowing down His forehead, from His hands and His feet, He declares sharply, His sacrifice, now eliminating the debt owed by mankind … you and me. May we take careful notice, Jesus didn’t say. “I am finished.” That would imply He a mere man and die defeated. Instead, He declares, “It is finished.“ When He died and with His resurrection power, He left no unfinished business behind, He successfully completed the work He came to do.
As the pages turn from Genesis to this very moment, God’s story is fulfilled. Does it end here? No! But the bridge back to the Father is perfected. Jesus rises from the dead triumphantly (Happy Easter) engages and commissions the disciples, returns to heaven to reign forever. Now we the church, with the authority given by Jesus Himself, as inspired by Holy Spirit carry on with the red letter commands, statements, and tender words.
Move over Easter Bunny, here comes the risen King! “It is finished!” Relationship offered, relationship restored. May we live each day as a red letter day!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”- Hebrews 10:24)
* Resources: Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words, Strong’s Greek Dictionary, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, NASB Hebrew-Greek Dictionary, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. Greek Interlinear Bible words it: “He said, “It has been accomplished.” (Yes, I am a God loving, His daughter, geek)