Category: (5) Jesus the Savior


In Philippians 1:13, Paul writes, “My imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else” (NASB). Paul was imprisoned because he preached Christ. This “cause of Christ” refers to the purpose, plan, or mission of serving Christ. Paul taught that his missionary work was for the cause of Christ, for Christ’s purpose.

In another translation, the cause of Christ is found in Philemon 1:23: “Epaphras, who is in prison with me for the cause of Christ Jesus, greets you” (CEB). Again, Paul refers to his imprisonment, this time with Epaphras, as suffering for the cause of Christ. They were not imprisoned for breaking the law, but rather for their service to Jesus.

Today many speak of the cause of Christ in a similar way. When someone says they serve the “cause of Christ” or suffer on behalf of the “cause of Christ,” they usually mean they are acting as part of God’s mission to reach others with the gospel. The meaning is similar to Romans 1:16 where Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Speaking of the cause of Christ is another way of referring to attempts to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Jesus commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19—20). Followers of Jesus are to tell others about the resurrected Christ, baptize them, and teach them. This is all accomplished as part of the cause of Christ.

Those who serve the cause of Christ also endure much hardship. Paul spoke of this in connection with imprisonment. Many Christians throughout the history of the church have faced persecution, suffering, and even death for their faith in Jesus. The first Christian martyr, Stephen, preached the good news of Jesus to the Jewish Sanhedrin, a group of religious leaders. They killed him by stoning, yet Stephen’s final words show his dedication to Jesus: “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59–60).

The cause of Christ is much more important than any other cause. All believers are called to participate in the cause of Christ, knowing others need the good news of Jesus. Despite the possibility of persecution, all Christians should be serving the cause of Christ.

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a-whole-world-of-temporary-thingsIt goes without saying that the only things of eternal value in this world are those that are eternal. Life in this world is temporal, not eternal, and therefore, the only part of life that has eternal value is that which lasts through eternity. Clearly, the most important thing in this world that has true eternal value is having a relationship with Jesus Christ, as the free gift of eternal life comes only through Him to all those who believe (John 3:16). As Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Everyone is going to live somewhere for all of eternity, Christians and non-Christians alike. And the only eternal destiny other than the one in heaven with Christ is Hell – that provides everlasting punishment for those who reject Him (Matthew 25:46).

Regarding the abundant material things this world offers, which many tenaciously seek after, Jesus taught us not to store up for ourselves earthly treasures that can be destroyed or stolen (Matthew 6:19–20). After all, we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. Yet our core Christian values often get overlooked in our diligent quest for success and material comfort, and in the midst of these earthly pursuits we often forget about God. Moses addressed this issue 3,500 years ago as his people were about to enter the Promised Land. He warned them not to forget about God, for he knew once they “built fine houses and settled down” their hearts would become proud and they would forget about Him (Deuteronomy 8:12–14). There is certainly no eternal value in living our lives for ourselves, looking to get out of life all that we can, as the world system would have us believe.

Yet there can be significant eternal value in what we do with our lives during the exceedingly short time we are here on earth. Although Scripture makes it clear that our earthly good works will not save us or keep us saved (Ephesians 2:8–9), it is equally clear that we will be eternally rewarded according to what we have done while here on earth. As Christ Himself said, “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27). Indeed, Christians are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis added). These “good works” pertain to serving the Lord the best we can with what He has given us and with full dependence on Him.

The apostle Paul discusses the quality of the works that can bring eternal rewards. Equating Christians to “builders” and the quality of our works with the building materials, Paul informs us that the good materials that survive God’s testing fire and have eternal value are “gold, silver, and costly stones,” whereas using the inferior materials of “wood, hay and straw” to build upon the foundation that is Christ have no eternal value and will not be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:11–13). Essentially, Paul is telling us that not all of our conduct and works will merit rewards.

There are many ways our service to the Lord will bring us rewards. First, we need to recognize that every true believer has been set apart by God and for God. When we received God’s gift of salvation, we were given certain spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11). And if we think our gifts are insignificant, we need to remember that, as Paul told the church in Corinth, the body of Christ is made up of many parts. And “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be . . . and those parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:14, 18, 22 emphasis added). If you are exercising your spiritual gifts, you are playing a significant role in the body of Christ and doing that which has eternal value.

Every member of Christ’s body can make meaningful contributions when we humbly seek to edify the body and to glorify God. Indeed, every little thing can add to the beautiful mosaic of what God can do when we each do our part. Remember, on earth Christ has no body but ours, no hands but ours, and no feet but ours. Spiritual gifts are God’s way of administering His grace to others. When we show our love for God by obeying His commandments, when we persevere in the faith despite all opposition and persecution, when in His name we show mercy to the poor and sick and less fortunate, and when we help alleviate the pain and suffering that is all around us, then we are indeed building with the “gold, silver, and costly stones” that have true eternal value.

  “Rededicating your life to Christ” is a popular concept in modern Christian culture. It’s a decision made by a Christian who has fallen away from the practices of Christianity to turn back to Christ and strive to follow Him more completely. The act of suddenly returning to Christ is spoken of indirectly in Galatians 6:1, where the church is exhorted to restore sinful believers by gently confronting them. Rededication is popular among older children and young adults who grew up in the church. Christians who were saved at a young age may come to realize that their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus was incomplete. In a desire to consciously choose to adhere to a newfound, deeper understanding of the gospel, believers may “rededicate” themselves to Christ.

However, falling away and returning to God is not how the Christian walk is supposed to look. Romans 12:1–2 explains that spiritual maturity is a gradual, ongoing process Jesus said that to follow Him we should take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). And 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Hebrews 12:1 speak of the Christian life as a race, meant to be run every day. Many people rededicate after every sin. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of rededicating, striving to follow Jesus closely, failing, and rededicating again. But habitual sin is not a problem solved by rededicating [SEE ALSO: Self discipline]. . It’s a deeper issue that can only be solved with a greater understanding of the grace and love of God.

Still, rededication is a useful tool. It’s a way to deliberately reject sin and renew a love for Christ. The disciples went through a rededication of sorts when they saw the risen Jesus. Their half-hearted devotion turned into a desire to pour out their lives for His service. In the same way, whether because of a conviction about a sinful lifestyle or a greater understanding of the gift of Christ, we can choose to abandon our shallow devotion to Christ and devote ourselves to Him more fully.

Will God forgive a murderer?

  Many people make the mistake of believing that God forgives “little” sins such as lying, anger, and impure thoughts, but does not forgive “big” sins such as murder and adultery. This is not true. There is no sin too big that God cannot forgive it. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to pay the penalty for all of the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). When a person places his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, all of his sins are forgiven. That includes past, present, and future, big or small. Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins, and once they are forgiven, they are all forgiven (Colossians 1:14; Acts 10:43).

We are all guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and deserve eternal punishment (Romans 6:23). Jesus died for us, to pay our penalty (Romans 5:8). Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ for salvation is forgiven, no matter what sins he has committed (Romans 6:23; John 3:16). Now, a murderer or adulterer will likely still face serious consequences (legal, relational, etc.) for his evil actions – more so than someone who was “just” a liar. But a murderer’s or adulterer’s sins are completely and permanently forgiven the moment he believes and places his faith in Christ.

It is not the size of the sin that is the determining factor here; it is the size of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. If the shed blood of the sinless Lamb of God is sufficient to cover all the sins of all the millions of people who would ever believe in Him, then there can be no limit to the size or types of sins covered. When He said, “It is finished,” sin was made an end of, full atonement and satisfaction for it were given, complete pardon was obtained, peace was made, and redemption from all sin was achieved. It was sure and certain and complete; nothing needs to be, or could be, added to it. Further, it was done entirely without the help of man, and cannot be undone.

The question “Can God save me?” has been asked by millions of people over the years. Not only can God save you, but only God can save you. To understand why the answer to “Can God save me?” is “yes!”, we have to understand why we need saving in the first place. When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, his sin poisoned the rest of creation (Romans 5:12), and the sinful nature we inherited from Adam has separated us from God. Because of God’s great love for us, however, He had a plan (Genesis 3:15). He would come to earth as a human being in the person of Jesus Christ and willingly lay down His life for us, taking the punishment we deserved. When our Savior cried out from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), our sin debt was forever paid in full. Jesus Christ saved us from certain death and a horrible, godless eternity.

In order for us to benefit from Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we must trust in Him and His sacrifice alone as the payment for sin (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). And God will cover us with the righteousness of Christ the moment we do this (Romans 3:22). But for this imputed righteousness, we would not never be able to enter the presence of our holy God (Hebrews 10:19–25).

Our salvation affects more than our eternal destiny, however; “being saved” also has an immediate impact. The good news is that Christ’s finished work on the cross saved us from eternal separation from God, and it also saved us from the power that sin currently has over us in this life. Once we accept Christ, His Spirit indwells us and we are no longer controlled by the sinful nature. This freedom makes it possible for us to say “no” to sin and overcome our enslavement to the sinful desires of the flesh. “You . . . are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:9).

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Not one of us is beyond the reach of God’s saving grace (Isaiah 59:1). The apostle Paul is a great example of God’s far-reaching grace. Paul spent the first part of his life hating, imprisoning, persecuting, and even killing Christians. Then, one encounter with Jesus Christ turned Paul into one of the greatest Christian missionaries who ever lived. If God can save Paul, the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), He can save anyone.

Mankind is the crown jewel of God’s creation, made in His image (Genesis 1:26). God wishes all of us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and none of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:32). To those who believe in Jesus’ name, God gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12). What the Lord will do for His children is described in Psalm 91: “‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him’” (Psalm 91:14–16).

Who is the Good Shepard and what did they mean by it?

“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11) is the fourth of seven “I am” declarations of Jesus recorded only in John’s Gospel. These “I am” proclamations point to His unique, divine identity and purpose. Immediately after declaring that He is “the door” in John 10:7, Jesus declares “I am the good shepherd.” He describes Himself as not only “the shepherd” but the “good shepherd.” What does this mean?

It should be understood that Jesus is “the” good shepherd, not simply “a” good shepherd, as others may be, but He is unique in character (Psalm 23; Zechariah 13:7; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4). The Greek word kalos, translated “good,” describes that which is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful, in contrast to that which is wicked, mean, foul, and unlovely. It signifies not only that which is good inwardly—character—but also that which is attractive outwardly. It is an innate goodness. Therefore, in using the phrase “the good shepherd,” Jesus is referencing His inherent goodness, His righteousness, and His beauty. As shepherd of the sheep, He is the one who protects, guides, and nurtures His flock.

As He did in declaring that He is “the door of the sheep” in John 10:7, Jesus is making a contrast between Himself and the religious leaders, the Pharisees (John 10:12–13). He compares them to a “hireling” or “hired hand” who doesn’t really care about the sheep. In John 10:9, Jesus speaks of thieves and robbers who sought to enter the sheepfold stealthily. In that passage the Jewish leaders (Pharisees) are contrasted with Christ, who is the Door. Here, in John 10:12, the hireling is contrasted with the true or faithful shepherd who willingly gives up his life for the sheep. He who is a “hireling” works for wages, which are his main consideration. His concern is not for the sheep but for himself. Interestingly enough, the shepherds of ancient times were not usually the owners of the flock. Nevertheless, they were expected to exercise the same care and concern the owners would. This was characteristic of a true shepherd. However, some of the hirelings thought only of themselves. As a result, when a wolf appeared—the most common threat to sheep in that day—the hireling abandoned the flock and fled, leaving the sheep to be scattered or killed (John 10:12–13).

First, to better understand the purpose of a shepherd during the times of Jesus, it is helpful to realize that sheep are utterly defenseless and totally dependent upon the shepherd. Sheep are always subject to danger and must always be under the watchful eye of the shepherd as they graze. Rushing walls of water down the valleys from sudden, heavy rainfalls may sweep them away, robbers may steal them, and wolves may attack the flock. David tells how he killed a lion and a bear while defending his father’s flock as a shepherd boy (1 Samuel 17:36). Driving snow in winter, blinding dust and burning sands in summer, long, lonely hours each day—all these the shepherd patiently endures for the welfare of the flock. In fact, shepherds were frequently subjected to grave danger, sometimes even giving their lives to protect their sheep.

Likewise, Jesus gave His life on the cross as “the Good Shepherd” for his own. He who would save others, though He had the power, did not choose to save Himself. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Through His willing sacrifice, the Lord made salvation possible for all who come to Him in faith. In proclaiming that He is the Good Shepherd, Jesus speaks of “laying down” His life for His sheep (John 10:15, 17–18).

Jesus’ death was divinely appointed. It is only through Him that we receive salvation. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14). Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that it wasn’t just for the Jews that he laid down His life, but also for the “other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). The “other sheep” clearly refers to the Gentiles. As a result, Jesus is the Good Shepherd over all, both Jew and Gentile, who come to believe upon Him (John 3:16).

Most of you have never heard of Israeli native Amir Tsarfati.  He is a teacher of Christian biblical principles from the Jewish perspective [of] Messianic Judaism; the purest form of Judeo-Christian teaching.  He served as Deputy Governor of Jericho and was part of the negotiating team which was tasked to turn over the area to the Palestinians. Amir is a Major in the Israeli Army and an international speaker on terrorism. Please enjoy Amir’s  message on “Jesus of the Old Testament.” I believe his message will bring a blessing and greater understanding of the Bible. Thank you.

Many people speak about “having faith in Jesus,” but what exactly does this mean?

The Bible uses the phrase “faith in Jesus” synonymously with belief in Jesus as Savior. Romans 3:22–23 says that “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” When we place our faith in Jesus, we believe in Him, and God grants His righteousness to us.

To have faith in Jesus means to trust Him. Simply. Fully. Without reservation. On one occasion, before Jesus healed two blind men, He asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered, “Yes, Lord,” and He healed them “according to [their] faith” (Matthew 9:28–29). The men simply trusted the power and goodness of the Lord, and they received their sight.

When a person has faith in Jesus, it means that he or she believes who Jesus is (God in human form) and trusts what Jesus has done (died and resurrected). This faith in the person and work of Christ is what saves (see Romans 10:9–10; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4). “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).

John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The key is belief, in response to God’s love. Anyone who places his or her faith in Jesus has the promise of eternal life.

Without faith in Jesus, we remain in sin and cannot be accepted into God’s presence in His perfect heaven. With faith in Jesus, we are given access to the Father as God’s own children (John 1:12).

To have faith in Jesus is to reject all other ways of salvation. We cannot trust in Jesus and anything else. We trust in Jesus alone. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Salvation is exclusive. Jesus is the only way (John 14:6).

Are you ready to place your faith in Jesus? Do you trust Him to save you? There is no special prayer you must pray. However, you can respond right now with a prayer similar to this:

“Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son who died and rose again to give me eternal life. I trust in Jesus alone. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life.”

“Do you believe in Jesus?” seems like a strange question. It sounds like the same question as “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” or “Do you believe in aliens?” But the question “Do you believe in Jesus?” is asking far more than “Do you believe that Jesus Christ existed/exists?” The true meaning of the question is “Do you believe Jesus Christ is who the Bible says He is, and are you trusting Him as your Savior?”

So, do you believe in Jesus?

Do you believe that Jesus is God in human form (John 1:1, 14)? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21), for which you deserve eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)? Do you believe that the sacrifice of Jesus, God incarnate, is the only adequate payment for your sins (1 John 2:2; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)?

Do you believe these things? If so, great, but believing the facts about Jesus is only part of the equation. Biblical faith/belief is far more than believing certain things to be true. Biblical saving faith is also trusting/relying on those facts.

A chair is a good illustration. You can look at a chair and believe it is made of materials strong enough to support your weight, and you can believe that it was assembled correctly. But that is not biblical faith. Biblical faith is sitting in the chair. It is actually relying on the chair to hold your weight off the ground.

Are you trusting that Jesus is your Savior? Are you relying on His death as the full payment for your sin debt? Are you depending on His resurrection as the guarantee that you, too, will be raised to eternal life after death? Not that it could ever happen, but if the “chair” of Jesus Christ were pulled out from beneath you, spiritually speaking, would you hit the ground, or are you also relying on things in addition to the chair?

If you understand and believe what the Bible says about Jesus, and if you are trusting in those truths as the basis for salvation—you are saved! You “believe in Jesus” in the biblical sense.

If you are uncertain if you truly believe in Jesus but you desire to, or if you feel God drawing you to faith in Jesus, the next step is simple. Believe! Trust in Jesus! Rely on Him for your salvation. Allow God to turn you from sin to forgiveness and salvation.

If you would like to verbally express your new faith to God, here is a sample of what you can say: “God, I know that I have sinned. I know that my sin separates me from you. I know that if left unforgiven, my sin will separate me from you for eternity. I believe and trust that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that He died to pay the full penalty for my sins and that He rose from the dead on the third day. I am relying on His sacrifice alone to bring me into a right relationship with you. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for saving me. Help me to grow closer to you each and every day for the rest of my life.”

Jesus on the CrossJesus’ words, “It is finished,” appears only twice in the New Testament–John 19:28 and John 19:30.

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit,” (John 19:28-30, emphasis added).

What Does Tetelestai Mean?

“It is finished,” which is one of Jesus’ most important statements, is translated from the single Greek word tetelestai. The grammatical structure of the Greek word, perfect passive indicative, is very important.

The perfect tense indicates that the progress of an action has been completed and the result of that action is ongoing and with full effect. The passive voice indicates that the subject of the sentence is being acted upon, and the indicative mood indicates a statement of fact or an actual occurrence from the writer’s or speaker’s perspective. While this may sound like more of a grammar lesson than most readers care for, this information is, again, very important to understanding the significance of Jesus’ words. Allow me to break it down.

What Did Jesus Finish?

Let’s begin by identifying what the “it” is. What did Jesus finished? Jesus gives us the answer throughout the Gospels, and the New Testament writers give us the answer throughout the epistles.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” (Matthew 5:17).

Jesus obeyed the Father by being the perfect fulfillment of the Law of God and the prophesies regarding the Messiah. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household,” (Matthew 10:34-36).

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division,” (Luke 12:51).

Jesus did not come to preach a message of coexistence, tolerance, or ecumenism. Jesus made it clear that you are either with the one true God or against Him. Such truth was and is today the most divisive message the world has ever known. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him,” (John 5:43).

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me,” (John 6:38).

Jesus came in the name of the only true God and to perfectly do His will. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father,” (John 10:37-38).

Jesus came to perfectly do the works of His Father, so people could understand that He and the Father were one (John 10:30). Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day,” (John 12:46-48).

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,'” (John 14:6).

Jesus came as the light of the world, giving fallen mankind the opportunity to move from utter darkness into His marvelous light. He came to save people. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice,'” (John 18:37).

Jesus came as fully God and fully Man to be the incarnation of the Truth of God. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus,” (Romans 3:21-26).

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted,” (Hebrews 2:14-18).

Jesus came to make propitiation for our record of sin against God. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation,” (Romans 5:6-11).

Jesus came to make reconciliation between God and man possible. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish,” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Jesus came to die for and to purify His Bride, the Church. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:5-11).

Jesus came to glorify His Father through His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Jesus came to make a way, the only way, for people to find mercy, grace, and help in time of need. Jesus, the sympathetic Savior, finished the work given to Him by His Father.

Jesus Declared His Work Finished!

Having identified the “it” (the work God the Father had given God the Son to accomplish on earth), let’s take a look at what Jesus meant when He cried out that He had finished the work.

As I mentioned early in this article, having an understanding of the structure of the sentence in the Greek text is very helpful toward grasping the full weight of Christ’s forever-memorable words.

What Jesus did through His perfect earthly existence, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection fully completed the work the Father had given Him to do. Not only did He complete His salvific work but also His accomplishment is fully efficacious today and will be forevermore. There is nothing more to add–nothing more to be done by God, man, or religious institutions. The undeniable, factual, historic, and eternal work of Jesus Christ has been completed–is complete–and will forever remain completed. “IT . . . IS . . . FINISHED!”

“It is finished!” Jesus finished the work given to Him by His Father, which culminated at the cross. At the cross, the gavel of the Supreme Judge of the Universe crashed upon His mighty bench when God the Father, pleased to crush His Son, poured the full cup of His wrath against sin upon His innocent Son.

“It is finished!” At the cross, the Great Exchange took place (2 Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 2:13-15). The eternal debt owed for the sin of mankind was paid in full. God the Father looked upon His perfect, precious, and priceless Son as if He had lived the filthy, detestable, sin-stained lives of fallen mankind. And, for those who repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, God the Father looks upon them as if they had lived His Son’s perfect, precious, and priceless life.

“It is finished!” At the cross, God kept His promise to crush Satan’s head through the bruising of His Son. The power of sin and death was vanquished once and for all time.

“It is finished!” Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross forever made man’s work to appease God, to please God, and to be reconciled to God, impotent and blasphemous.

The sin debt I owe to God was and is paid in full by my Lord and Savior, my Master and King, Jesus Christ, when He shed His innocent blood on the cross on my behalf! IT . . . IS . . . FINISHED!

Implications of Tetelestai

The implications of Jesus’ words on the cross are eternally positive for those who repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior–by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. However, the implications of Jesus’ words on the cross are eternally negative for any organization or individual who seeks to add to, detract from, or replace not only Jesus’ words on the cross but also the work He accomplished to the glory of God the Father.

Every man-made religion and each of their faithful adherents stand, right now, in the cross-hairs of God’s wrath. “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him,” (John 3:34-36).

Roman Catholicism denies the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross through the practice and observance of the mass. During the mass, through the unbiblically magical art of transubstantiation (Jesus literally becoming the bread and the wine), Jesus must sacrifice Himself again and again for sin.

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by denying Christ died on the cross and by insisting one must be a member of the Watchtower Society and obey the Law of God to receive their demonic brand of salvation.

Mormonism denies the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by adding their perceived righteousness and works to their ungodly salvation process. According to 2 Nephi 25:23, in the Book of Mormon, salvation is by grace, plus works. “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

Islam denies the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by seeing Jesus as nothing more than a prophet, second to their false prophet Muhammad. They also believe it was Judas (a treacherous false convert), not Jesus, who died on the cross.

But the implications of Jesus’ words on the cross extend beyond false religions and into American Evangelicalism.

Some churches deny the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by spending time and resources wooing the unsaved to the “Christian Club” instead of calling them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, how many times I have heard the testimonies of professing Christians–testimonies that culminate with happy membership at a church and not with the bending of the knee in repentance and by faith at the foot of the cross.

Some churches deny the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, diminishing the gospel as the power of God for salvation, by insisting Jesus and the gospel need the help of man’s innovation and perceived ability to make the gospel more palatable. This is demonstrated through gimmicks, sales pitches, bait and switch tactics, and playing to the primal desires of health, wealth, prosperity, ease, comfort, and happiness without accountability.

Some churches deny the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by teaching unbiblical mantras such as:

  • “Christians have to earn the right to share the gospel with someone.”
  • “Unbelievers need to see Jesus in you before they will hear what you have to say.”
  • “People need to hear more than ‘Jesus can forgive your sins and give you eternal life.’ They need help with the real problems they’re facing today.”

Some churches deny the efficacy of Jesus’ finished work on the cross by failing to distinguish service, helps, and hospitality from evangelism, which is the actual and literal presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost and bound for Hell.

And the list goes on . . .

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it. He actually meant what He said. He really meant it. For any group or any individual to add or detract from Christ’s words or finished work, regardless of the religious stripes they wear, is the height of arrogance and the depth of depravity.

But let’s conclude on an up note. Having read several commentaries on John 19:30, I was particularly moved by the thoughts of Bible commentator and Presbyterian minister, Matthew Henry. I will be adding the following to my open-air preaching Bible:

The dying word wherewith he breathed out his soul (v. 30): When he had received the vinegar, as much of it as he thought fit, he said, It is finished; and, with that, bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. Observe,

What he said, and we may suppose him to say it with triumph and exultation, Tetelestai- It is finished, a comprehensive word, and a comfortable one.

  1. It is finished, that is, the malice and enmity of his persecutors had now done their worst; when he had received that last indignity in the vinegar they gave him, he said, “This is the last; I am now going out of their reach, where the wicked cease from troubling.”
  2. It is finished, that is, the counsel and commandment of his Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled; it was a determinate counsel, and he took care to see every iota and tittle of it exactly answered, Acts 2:23. He had said, when he entered upon his sufferings, Father, thy will be done; and now he saith with pleasure, It is done. It was his meat and drink to finish his work (ch. 4:34), and the meat and drink refreshed him, when they gave him gall and vinegar.
  3. It is finished, that is, all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished and answered. He speaks as if, now that they had given him the vinegar, he could not bethink himself of any word in the Old Testament that was to be fulfilled between him and his death but it had its accomplishment; such as, his being sold for thirty pieces of silver, his hands and feet being pierced, his garments divided, etc.; and now that this is done. It is finished.
  4. It is finished, that is, the ceremonial law is abolished, and a period put to the obligation of it. The substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away. Just now the veil is rent, the wall of partition is taken down, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, Eph. 2:14, 15. The Mosaic economy is dissolved, to make way for a better hope.
  5. It is finished, that is, sin is finished, and an end made of transgression, by the bringing in of an everlasting righteousness. It seems to refer to Dan. 9:24. The Lamb of God was sacrificed to take away the sin of the world, and it is done, Heb. 9:26.
  6. It is finished, that is, his sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul and those of his body. The storm is over, the worst is past; all his pains and agonies are at an end, and he is just going to paradise, entering upon the joy set before him. Let all that suffer for Christ, and with Christ, comfort themselves with this, that yet a little while and they also shall say, It is finished.
  7. It is finished, that is, his life was now finished, he was just ready to breathe his last, and now he is no more in this world, ch. 17:11. This is like that of blessed Paul (2 Tim. 4:7), I have finished my course, my race is run, my glass is out, mene, mene-numbered and finished. This we must all come to shortly.
  8. It is finished, that is, the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed, at least the hardest part of the undertaking is over; a full satisfaction is made to the justice of God, a fatal blow given to the power of Satan, a fountain of grace opened that shall ever flow, a foundation of peace and happiness laid that shall never fail. Christ had now gone through with his work, and finished it, ch. 17:4. For, as for God, his work is perfect; when I begin, saith he, I will also make an end. And, as in the purchase, so in the application of the redemption, he that has begun a good work will perform it; the mystery of God shall be finished.

Usage of Tetelestai

While doing some research for this article, I learned there were several ways the word, tetelestai, was used in Greco-Roman culture—all of them illustrative of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

An artist might have said Tetelestai! when he finished a painting in order to announce, “the picture is perfect.” Jesus, the Master Artisan, declared from the cross that the picture of salvation He had drawn from eternity past was always perfect but now complete. It is finished!

A servant might have confidently said Tetelestai! when asked by his master if the work he had been assigned to do was complete. The servant would say, “Yes, master. I have finished the work.” Jesus, the Suffering Servant, completed the work His Father had given Him. It is finished!

A judge might have said Tetelestai! when he conferred a sentence or when issuing a ruling that a sentence had been completed. The judge would say, “Justice has been served.” There is only one Lawgiver and Judge–only One who is able to save and destroy. And as the Father turned His back on His Son, the Father was well pleased. It pleased the Father to crush His Son. It is finished!

A priest might have said Tetelestai! when he recognized an unblemished and acceptable sacrifice for God. The priest would announce to the person offering the sacrifice that the offering was acceptable according to the law of God. And, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Yes, our Great High Priest, Jesus the Lord, not only mediates for His people as a priest but also He Himself was and is the perfect sacrifice. It is finished!

A merchant might have said Tetelestai! after stamping a bill “the debt has been paid.” The Christian’s debt has been paid in full by the propitiation of Jesus Christ. By Jesus paying the Christian’s sin debt in full, “God [has] made [us] alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him,” (Colossians 2:13-15). It is finished!

A soldier might have said Tetelestai! as a battle cry toward a vanquished foe. The soldier would yell, “You are finished!” Jesus’ cry on the cross was not a cry of despair or defeat. Oh, no. When Jesus cried with a loud voice, He was declaring victory of the enemy–Satan, sin, and death. It is finished!

The Artist had the last word as to the meaning of the painting—not the art critic. The Servant knew if the work in the house had been completed and approved by the Master—not the stranger who entered the house. The Judge determined the sentence, its execution, and its satisfaction—not the convicted criminal. The Priest determined if one’s sacrifice was acceptable to God—not the penitent. The Merchant determined if a debt was paid—not the debtor. The Victorious Warrior determined the future of his combatant—not the defeated enemy.

Jesus Christ is the Artisan, the Servant, the Judge, the Priest, the Merchant, and the Victor—you are not. Your religion is not. Your intellect is not. Therefore, repent of any false ideologies that add works to Christ’s finished work. Repent of any arrogant notions, through manmade philosophies of ministry, which would presume to finish the work that Christ has already finished.

Jesus said, “It is finished!” And He meant it.

IT . . . IS . . . FINISHED! It is finished, indeed. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You.