Tetelestai!

Rev. George Borghardt

St. John 19:16b-42

In the name of Jesus. Amen. Tetelestai. Greek verb. Perfect passive. Completed action. It has been accomplished. It is finished. The account has been paid.

Say it. "Tetelestai." Believe it. Be saved by Jesus’ cross alone. It is finished. Tetelestai.

He’s done. God’s dead on the Cross. Hell’s finished. Salvation has been achieved. God’s wrath is satisfied. The punishment due you has been paid for by the Son of God Himself. Perfect passive. Done deal. Jesus did it.

The conquerer of sin, death, and the devil is hanging, beaten and dead, on a Cross. He is God's answer to sin. He is God's remedy for death. He destroys death by dying. Death died in Him. For you. For me. For all.

Good Friday. The Cross. The Crucified Christ. That’s our theology, our Faith, our hope.

Luther said it this way: "Crux sola est nostra theologia," The Cross alone is our theology. Christ and Him crucified for you. That’s daring to be Lutheran.

The Cross is justification by grace alone, received faith alone, from Scripture alone. The Cross is the Law of God. The Cross is the Gospel of God. The Cross is the righteousness God requires and the Cross is the righteousness God gives. The Cross is your salvation — your justification and your sanctification.

We try to dodge His Cross — the hideous sight of our salvation being won by His corpse hanging naked and lifeless on the Tree. We would get around Him. We'd take Him off the tree if we could. You know, “He's not on the Cross any more.”

We would replace the Christ the Crucified with a present-tense religion that is more sanitized and sensible to us — one that looks a lot more like us! Our decisions, our giving Jesus our life, and our commitment (and re-commitments) to Him. We’d make a religion all about what we do, what we think, how we feel. What church means to me and how it can make my life better today.

Sure, you've got sins, but you will do better next time. You’ll do more good works and get your life together. That sin will never happen again. It's not like it was that big of a deal anyway. It’s not like you killed someone.

But... you did. I did, too. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The punishment that should have fallen on us fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. You crucified the Lord of Glory. You killed God. I did too.

But God has saved you in His death. You see, this dead God means a living you. Your sin, your evil, your transgressions have died with Him. Hell smolders no more for you.

Tetelestai. It is finished. Not "It’s almost finished and all you have to do is repent, choose, accept..." No, if you could do something, anything to fix your sins, God would not have had to die to save you.

So, "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" Crucified, hanging on the Cross having answered for your crimes. Look on Him. Behold Him. Fix your eyes on Him and be saved in His Cross.

What you couldn't do, God has done for you in the Cross of Jesus Christ. He was crucified for your sins. He was raised for your justification, for you forgiveness.

Receive His Cross today. Take eat His Body. Take and drink the blood flowing from His crucified side of Christ. Be forgiven. Be enlivened.

For you have been crucified with Him in the waters of Holy Baptism. You died to your former sins. The way you used to live, think, feel, and tried to save yourself was tetelestai-ed. That's over and done with, and buried with Jesus.

And you have been made alive, raised with Jesus. Perfect passive. Completed action. He lives for you. You live now for others. You live and love others as He lived and loved others too, as He lives and loves you.

Jesus was dead. Now He lives forever. You live too. Present tense. Right now. Never to die again.

And on the Last Day, with your own eyes you will see the One Crucified for your sins. St. John says He sits on the throne looking as a Lamb having been slain. Jesus is always and forever the Crucified One. That means that you and I are always and forever saved in Him.

Tetelestai. Greek verb. Perfect passive. Completed action. It has been accomplished. It is finished. The account has been paid.

Say it. tetelestai. Believe it. Be saved by Jesus’ cross alone. It is finished. tetelestai. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Created: August 5th, 2014