The Completed Act

Hope for Today (English)
Hope for Today (English)
The Completed Act
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John 19:23-30

Hello friend, and welcome to Hope for Today. The program you’re listening to is produced by Heralds of Hope. We’re an international Gospel media ministry. Each week our Bible teaching broadcasts circle the globe in English and 22 other major languages. Tens of thousands tune in each week for spiritual nourishment and blessing.

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Now, here’s Pastor J. Mark with today’s teaching.

I’m sure that you, like I, realize that our human existence is full of many uncertainties. Each day brings its changes, and many of them are unpredictable. Only one person knew how His days would end. Even during the last week of His life, Jesus explained to the disciples exactly what was going to happen. He lived with the end in view.

We are not blessed like that. The only certainty we have is the fact of the end. The time of the end is hidden from us. Not so with Jesus. The record contained in John’s Gospel shows us how Jesus came to His death. I want you to notice from John 19:23-30, that He clearly understood what was happening; He was aware of THE COMPLETED ACT.

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

My friend, from the array of evidence, I have selected three remarkable PARTICULARS which should convince anyone that Jesus died. There will be no more room for doubt.

The first Particular: The Disposal Of His Clothes.

There were the soldiers, the ones who had crucified Him. It may well be that their each receiving a part of His clothing was a reward for their act. A reward for their act? Well, perhaps that was the only way they got paid for it, a little bonus, perhaps. At any rate, they made equal parts, then cast lots for the inner garment, the vestment, the seamless tunic. It was not the outer garment; it was the inner garment for which they cast lots because it was woven from the top to the bottom throughout.

Isn’t it striking that the disposal of His clothes had been predicted years before by King David in the 22nd Psalm? “They parted my raiment among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” The soldiers did not know what they were doing. They were not aware that they were fulfilling Scripture. But they were. Isn’t that remarkable? The disposal of His clothes was a particular which cannot be ignored. It seems like a very insignificant act, and yet, the Bible predicted that this was exactly what they would do when they crucified Jesus.

The second Particular: The Disclosure Of His Concern.

We are informed that there were four women standing near the cross. It was His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. These four women, most likely, were very close to Him. More than likely, the other women were close friends of His mother’s. She was there. At the time of the birth of Jesus, Simeon, as a prophet, had said that a sword would pierce through her own heart. Here she was by the cross of Jesus, witnessing His death.

Besides these four women, there was the disciple whom Jesus loved. Most students of the Bible identify him as John the Apostle.

While they were there, Jesus from the cross disclosed His concern and said to His mother, “Woman, behold thy son.” Then to John, He said, “Behold thy mother.” Thus, His last earthly concern was to make sure that His mother was cared for by loving hands, John’s hands. Such a loving act is a particular that cannot be ignored. The disclosure of His concern is clear, is it not?

The third Particular: The Distinction Of His Cry.

Now read again verse 28, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished.” I mentioned earlier that Jesus knew when the end would be. Here we are informed that He was completely knowledgeable. He knew the end was coming. So, He asked for something to drink by saying, “I thirst.” He had full knowledge of it. The Prophet David had predicted that His tongue would cleave to the roof of His mouth with thirst.

Then followed His final word, His final word. After He had taken the vinegar from the sponge, He declared as His final word, “It is finished.” Praise the Lord! It will never be altered; it cannot be changed. He said clearly, “It is finished,” then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

My dear friend, no amount of reasoning can change the record. Our Lord’s distinctive cry settles that. Such a far-reaching act, such a word from the Savior is a particular which cannot be ignored.

From these remarkable particulars, we are brought to the unshakable conclusion: He died. He gave His innocent life, the innocent for the guilty. When I survey the wondrous cross, I see God’s great completed act!

Thanks, J Mark, for this teaching. We are so glad Jesus has completed the work, and His crucifixion is still saving people to this day. As we just heard, His last statement was, “It is finished.” In English, this is three words, but in the original language (Greek), it was one word, and the word was tetelestai. This is a unique word, and we struggle to get it exactly into English. The reason is in English, we don’t have this tense for our verbs. To say what He meant, in English, it would have sounded more like this, “It is finished and will continue to be finished.” This adds a depth to the word we don’t catch with our English tense.

And as I looked at the word and its many uses. I was encouraged with the meaning packed into this one Greek word, and I believe you will also be encouraged as we look at the various meanings packed into “It is Finished.”

First, Jesus said this on the cross, and His work on earth was completed. He had done all the Father gave Him to do. V. 28 uses the same word, tetelestai, and it is translated “all things were now accomplished.” So, It is Finished. Jesus has accomplished all the Father had given Him to do. This is only one aspect of “It is Finished,” let’s look at a few more. 

Secondly, this is the word a priest would use while examining an animal before the sacrifice. If the animal was without blemish and passed the test, he would say tetelestai. In a similar way, it seems Jesus, as our priest, uttered this before He was sacrificed, knowing that the Sacrifice of Himself was and is acceptable to the Father. “It is Finished,” This sacrifice is perfect.

A third use of the word was in business. Many believe this is the word written on receipts from that period. It was when a debt was fully paid. Like now, back then, people had debt; when the last payment was made, “it is finished” is the word that was used to mark the end. After this, no more was owed. This is very encouraging when we remember what Christ has done on our behalf. We don’t owe any more, “It is Finished.” It is up to us to accept His sacrifice. 

This word was also used in conflict. However, it was only used by the victor, and they only used it when they knew victory was certain. Then they would use the word tetelestai. I wonder if the Roman centurion saw Christ dying and then heard this cry of victory and realized this is no ordinary man. “Surely, he must be the son of God.” From our vantage point, 2000 years later, we know Christ has conquered! He has defeated sin. He has crushed death. He is victorious!

Lastly, it is also my understanding that the word was used to signify a turning point. If one time period ends and another one begins, tetelestai was used. We know from Matthew 27 how the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was ripped from top to bottom. This marked the end of the Old Testament era. Jesus has ushered in a new era. No need to sacrifice sheep to cover sin or go to Jerusalem for the Passover. This is a new era, and Jesus lives in us; we are now the temple. 

“It is finished” is packed with so much truth, and these are a few of the things Jesus may have meant. It is exciting how you can dig into God’s word and never get to the bottom. Today we just looked at one word a little closer, and there is so much there. I was encouraged from this and hope you’ve been encouraged too. Now I will say, “It is Finished,” but all I mean is the teaching for today is finished.

My friend, was this teaching helpful? If you’d like a copy, either in print or on an audio CD, just contact us and ask for it by the title. Or log onto our website heraldsofhope.org

The quickest way for you to connect with us is to send an email to [email protected]. That email address is [email protected]. Or write to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Remember, you can request a printed manuscript or a digital audio file of this teaching. We’d be happy to send one to you.

And when you contact us, you can request our Bible Study Guide, Hope Herald. It follows these radio programs and will help you learn more about what we’re studying from John’s Gospel. So, ask for your free copy of Hope Herald today.

Here’s the contact information again. Our email address is [email protected]. Or write to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Remember, you can request a free copy of this teaching. It’s available in print or on a digital audio file. And you can also request a free copy of our newest publication, Hope Herald. It will help you gain more value from our study in John.

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Now, I urge you to tune in next week as Pastor J. Mark continues our study from John’s Gospel. You won’t want to miss it. And until then, keep looking to Jesus; He’ll give you hope for today!

This episode is an exposition of John 19:23-30 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with a new opening and closing by Arlin Horst.