Scholars have proposed that it was on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, that Jesus was taken to Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” It was on this day that Jesus was nailed to a cross and hung on that cross for approximately 6 hours.
As I was reading this story last week, I was struck by one of the final statements made by Jesus before he died. He said, “tetelestai” which means “it is finished.”
As I contemplated the significance of that statement, a few things impressed me. The first is that Jesus did not say “I am finished.” He said “it” is finished. He was referring to the fact that he had thoroughly accomplished all of the Father’s will for his life which included dying on the cross as a voluntary, innocent sacrifice in place of you and me. Our sin has given us a death sentence, but he paid for that penalty on our behalf.
The word “tetelestai” is also written grammatically to emphasize past action with abiding results. Results that everyone can benefit from after his death. Grammatically, this word is also written in the mood of certainty. Jesus did not say, “it may be finished,” or “I hope it is finished.” No, he said with confidence, “It is finished.”
The word “tetelestai” has also been found written on certificates of debt once the debt had been completely repaid. It had the meaning of “paid in full.” The debt has been completely satisfied. What debt was Jesus referring to? Colossians 2:14 says, “He canceled the record of charges against us, and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Jesus has ultimately paid for each of our sin certificates of debt when he died on the cross! As a result, a pardon is available to everyone.
The problem with a pardon is that it is not a pardon if it is not accepted. In 1830, a man named George Wilson was convicted of murder and robbery. As a result, he was sentenced to be executed. President Andrew Jackson gave him a pardon, but Wilson refused it! The issue went before the U.S. Supreme Court. They ruled, “a pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon its acceptance by the person implicated…but if refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must hang.”
Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for all of us, he can offer each of us a pardon. The important thing to remember is that the pardon must be accepted. We accept this pardon simply by choosing to believe in Jesus as our Savior and God and reliantly trust in him to do for us what he said he could. He and he alone can give me forgiveness and life.
These rich truths have been excellent reminders for me of Christ’s love for me and the wisdom of completely trusting him with my salvation, my life and the need for me to follow his leadership.
Following Jesus with you,