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Jesus' Seven Last Words on the Cross

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Series 3 of 3

By Pastor Jarrel S. Sena

6. A Word of Completion

"It is finished." (John 19:30 NASB)

The words, "It is finished," carry with them the truth that Jesus' mission has reached its completion. Let us recall some verses in the New Testament where Jesus' mission is stated:

  • John 1:29, The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (NASB)

  • Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (NASB)

  • Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NASB)

  • 1 Timothy 1:15, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (NASB)

  • 1 John 3:5, “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.” (NASB)

The penultimate saying of Jesus on the cross testify to the fact that His mission of saving sinners by dying on their behalf is done. God requires a sacrifice in order for Him to forgive sins. The sacrifice must be blameless and sinless so as to satisfy God who is blameless and sinless. Jesus is presented as God in the human flesh (John 1:1, 14) and He took this form to serve as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of God's people (Philippians 2:8). No other sin offering can take away our sin except that which Jesus provided.

In John's gospel, the Greek word he employed for the sixth saying is tetelestai. It could mean "paid in full." In the ancient world if someone has a debt and it was paid in full, on his deed the word "tetelestai" shall be written. Jesus paid our debts before God in full. He met the righteous demand of the Law by living a sinless life, perfecting God's Law, and in the proper time died for us sinners.

Tetelestai is also used to free a prisoner. If a Roman citizen commits a crime, he will be thrown into the prison. At his cell door a certificate of his crimes will be posted so that anyone who may pass by will know his violations. Once he is able to serve his sentence, the certificate will be taken to a judge and the latter will put tetelestai across it. The prisoner will receive this document and he will be freed. To those who will question his freedom, he would refer them to the indictment tetelestai found on the certificate. We are all guilty criminals before God and the only way for us to be cleared from all of our crimes is by believing in Jesus Christ. Once this is done, God, the righteous judge, will write tetelestai across our "debt certificate" indicating that all of our wrongdoings (past, present, and future) has been paid in full by Jesus Christ.

Paid on the cross man's penalty for his sins. This work of our Lord is not subject for any improvement or supplementation. It is a great insult for Jesus when we try to "add" into His finished work by our good deeds. Based from Isaiah 64:6, our good works are all filthy rags before God because of our sinfulness. Apart from Jesus Christ there is no sacrifice that can satisfy God. Believe in Him!

7. A Word of Surrender

"Father,into Your hands I commit My spirit." (Luke 23:46)

Knowing that He had completed His mission, our Lord surrendered His spirit to the Father. Afterwards, He died. Considering that Jesus was able to fulfill His mission, we can conclude that Jesus died well. How can we die well? How can we attain satisfaction as we leave this world?

a. To die well means to fulfill our God-given purpose

Jesus knew what is His purpose and He stick to it until the very end of His life. Jesus lived to fulfill the will of the Father even though this could mean a humiliating and painful death. Humans are created by God and for His glory. Our ultimate purpose is to live for His name. This has been destroyed by sin so we live for our own glory. By coming to Jesus we will be reconciled back to God in order to fulfill our true purpose. For genuine Christians, dying well means living for the purpose which God intends for us. Part of that is to serve Him with all that we are just as what our Savior exemplified.

b. To die well means to find satisfaction in God's purpose

Jesus did not complain about His life. He did not question the way of life God the Father has chosen for Him. Even in His death which is both shameful and agonizing, our Lord's last words were not of complaint but of committal to the Father. Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:11 that he has learned to be content with his life as long as it is the by-product of his obedience to God. Interestingly, he penned those words inside the prison which is the result of his gospel preaching efforts (Philippians 1:7). Paul died by having his head cut off because of his faith to the Lord Jesus yet his last words depict victory not defeat, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

c. To die well means to be accepted by God in the afterlife

Jesus went back to the glory which He had with the Father before everything began (John 17:5). Today, He is seated at God's right hand where He intercedes for His people. Like Jesus, to die well means to be accepted by God in His presence. We have been hammering this truth since the first saying that all who will trust in Jesus will be forgiven from their sins and will possess eternal life. Like the repentant thief, they will be with the Lord in Paradise which is another term for God's heaven. It is my hope and prayer that in our last breath, we are confident that the Father will receive our spirit because of our identification with the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth.

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