He was the marathon runner breaking the tape.
A fire fighter walking out of the smoke.
A soldier limping home.
Jesus pulled Himself up on the nails and with everything left in Him, shouted, “IT IS FINISHED.”
Three powerful words for us—in the Greek, just one: TETELESTAI. When people standing near the cross heard Him say it, they knew exactly what Jesus meant.
Complete. Paid in full. Done.
Tetelestai belonged to the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the most important day on the Jewish calendar. For one day, they absolutely knew their sin was paid for. Momentarily.
On this day under Old Testament law, two goats were taken to the Temple. One—sacrificed, and its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies symbolizing the shed blood that paid the price for sin. On the other goat, the high priest laid his hands and confessed the sins of the people. It now symbolically carried all their sins. They, then drove this “scapegoat” outside the city walls and far into the wilderness, symbolizing their guilt being taken far away.
Along the way out of the city, other priests were stationed and they called back to the temple when the scapegoat had been successfully driven away, perhaps over a cliff, so the guilt could not return. From one post to the next, one priest shouted the message back, “It is finished. It is finished.” The message, tetelestai, resonated all the way back to the city until the temple priest announced to the people that their sins had been paid in full. They were good for another year.
When Jesus shouted, “It is finished,” every Jew standing around the cross recognized it.
It is finished. Your sins have been carried far away. They are forgiven.
It is finished. No more animals need to be sacrificed. No more does the river of blood need to flow out of the Temple.
It is finished. The price has been paid in full.
All that remains is what you decide to do with what Jesus did for you. Somebody must pay. Do you carry your own sin, or will you let Him carry it for you?
Consider Jesus on the cross:
* He is our great High Priest. Read Hebrews 4:14.
* He is the “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 13:8
* He is our scapegoat. His blood paid sin’s price. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 10:3-4, 10
* Your sin was laid on Him. Isaiah 53:6
You can carry your sin yourself—or accept His offer to carry it for you. Your choice.