Sunday, April 04, 2004

It Is Finished - No Way

Intro: Endings are always special. 1.Putting the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle in 2.The final scene of that special movie - that makes it all fit together 3.The last chapter of a book 4.Who doesn't like a story with a happy ending 5.Friendly's has their "Tasty Endings Sundae" For the last six weeks we have been looking at the seven last words of Christ. We still have one more, but today we do hear the words of Christ, "It is finished." Read John 19:28-30 Pray Tran. I do not claim to be a Greek scholar. But occasionally a Greek word catches me by surprise. Most of us know or have heard that there are three Greek words for our word LOVE agaph is God's unconditional love, phileo is "brotherly love", and eros is the physical attraction of a man for a woman. But there are also times that a Greek word is rich in meaning. The word that Christ used on the cross, "It is finished", is such a word. In the next few minutes I want to look at three of the meanings associated with Jesus' words from the cross. I. "It is finished" - I have drank it all. A. The natural meaning of Jesus words are that the sour wine or vinegar is gone. (Ill.) Whether this vinegar was intended to bring further suffering on Christ or an attempt to ease his suffering. There are those who claim that this "sour wine" was just that - rotten wine that was being given to Jesus in order to add to his torment on the cross. Others suggest that the beverage that was being offered to Jesus that day was the same beverage that was issued to the Roman soldiers who stood on guard that day. It was being offered as way to ease his pain. B. Regardless - Jesus let it be known that "It is finished" C. And it was finished - Jesus had taken all that could be dished out - He was not yet dead, but the time is close. And there is no more that could be done to him. (Appl.) We talk about life being unfair. We have so much wrong done to us, we all interact with people that treat us in ways that we do not deserve. But it is not only true for us - it is also true for Jesus. Here is the perfect man. He has not sinned. He as not fallen short. He has not missed the mark - either intentionally or unintentionally. And, yet, those who disagree with him have managed to have him killed. The killing of Jesus that day was the ultimate in unfairness. And people knew it - certainly his friends did, the criminal on the cross knew it, a Roman guard knew it. And we know it. If Jesus was treated so unfairly, why should we who are Christians, literally "little Christs", think it should be any less true for us. D. It is finished - there was no more that could be done. II. "It is finished" - I have done it all. A. tetelestai "it is finished" comes from the Greek word telew. Telew has a unique meaning - it represents the end of a culmination of steps. B. As Jesus hangs on the cross, we know that he has done all that God has expected of Him. C. There are two components to telew - The first has to do with the completionof the task. This Jesus had done. The other has to do with completing the task in precisely the right way. D. Jesus has met God's requirements for a perfect sacrifice - the sinless, firstborn Son of God. (Appl.) Obedience always has these two components - doing the right thing and doing it the right way. (Ill.) I have explored my cooking exploits before. On one occasion I was making the easy of easiest Rice-A-Roni. I browned the rice just right, I added the correct amount of water, and cooked it to perfection. I was about to throw out the box when I noticed the "flavor packet" inside the box. I tried to mix the flavor packet into the finished rice dish. My family didn't complain - but it wasn't right either. I had done the right thing, but had not done it in the right way. Much of life is like that - we can do those things we need to do, but we must do them in God's way and in God's time. E. For Jesus, "It is finished" - he has done what God wanted in the way God wanted. III. "It is finished" - I have paid it all. (Ill.) In Matthew 17 there is a brief incident when Jesus and disciples arrive in Capernaum. There was a practice that whenever someone arrived in town they would be expected to pay a tax to help cover the cost of maintaining the local temple - a temple tax. As Jesus arrives in town his disciples are questioned - "Does your teacher pay the temple tax?" The tax was considered a debt to be paid and the answer was "yes" he did pay the tax. And this is the other meaning of telew - "to pay a debt" A. When Jesus says, "It is finished" he is also saying "It is paid". (Ill.) What if all your debts had been paid? No mortgage, no second mortgage, no credit card balances, no car loans, every debt has been paid. The load would be gone. Life would be so much easier. B. We owe a dept. Our sin has a cost. Our disobedience, be it once or over a lifetime, requires that a sacrifice be made. And Jesus paid that price. He paid it all. (Appl.) We have all felt the load of sin. We have had to carry the guilt and the shame that goes with knowing that we have crossed the line. And Christ has paid the price. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Which load do you want to carry? The heavy one - for which the price has been paid; or the light one, free to all who will come to Jesus. Conclusion: As I listened to Jesus speak those words, "It is finished," I am reminded of a high school commencement. 1.Commencement comes at the end of high school. 2.Yet the very word is a reminder that those who are graduating are at the beginning 3.Even as Christ speaks those words, "It is finished.", we stand at the beginning of something. 4.Even as Christ finishes the work that God gave him to do, He offers to us abundant life. 5.It is finished - and we are offered a new beginning. Are you willing to follow?

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