I vividly recall my third grade teacher admonishing us with, “Cakes are done, people are finished.” It’s why when someone tells me, “I’m done,” I silently respond, “Actually, you’re finished.”
But even that isn’t necessarily clear, is it? Finished is used in many situations, including competitions, meals, work, preparation, and people. In the latter case, being finished can mean death!
In John 19:30, Jesus said, “It is finished!” before dying. But he wasn’t just referring to his time here on Earth. Verse 28 gives some context: “his mission was now finished.”
So what was his mission? Luke 19:10 says, “the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” And, who are the lost? Romans 3:23 has the answer: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It’s everyone, all of us.
I like to think, “I’m not that bad. I don’t need to be saved.” But our Creator said that for a married person to look at another person with lustful intent was to commit adultery in their heart (Matthew 5:28). And when one man claimed he had kept all the commandments since childhood, Jesus responded, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).
No matter how good I try to present myself on the outside, I’m well aware of the yuck on my inside… leading to guilt and shame. Even Paul, considered the greatest missionary ever, felt like he couldn’t stop doing what he didn’t want to do (Romans 7:19).
Me too, Paul, me too.
Isn’t there a way to fix this?
Jesus repeatedly calls us to confess our struggles and follow him. It doesn’t matter how horrible the sin, everyone has equal opportunity to be forgiven and freed. Jesus’ death took care of it, once and for all. This is evidenced in the Greek word tetelestai, translated as “It is finished,” which was stamped on business documents and receipts to indicate a contract/bill had been completed or paid in full.
Here is the key to our sin problem. When we admit our mess and follow Jesus, he stamps a huge tetelestai—PAID IN FULL—on our lives. No longer bound by guilt or shame. Ever.
And that is what makes today a very good Friday.