Written by George Vink,
Regional Pastor of Classis Grand Rapids South
Have you ever wondered what language Jesus spoke as a child? It was likely a form of Aramaic/Hebrew. What were his first words? Playing with neighborhood kids, was it impossible to play “hide’n seek” with Jesus? Did Joseph try to teach him to say, “Abba?”
Scripture doesn’t tell much about Jesus’ childhood. Was it his first Passover in Jerusalem when he was twelve? Luke records Jesus’ words when Mary questioned him after heading back to the temple. They’re a question, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Does it strike you Jesus’ first recorded words were about his Father and his last words spoken from the cross were to his Father?
John 4:34 gives us Jesus’ words about His mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” It’s about the Father! In the parable we call “The Prodigal Son,” we learn it’s really about “A Prodigal Father.” It’s always about the Father, his Father! Hear Jesus pray, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) Jesus came to do his Father’s will, his Father’s work. Hear it again as he pleads and submits in the garden, “Not my will, but your will be done!”
Jesus came to do his Father’s work, the work of redemption promised to the guilty pair being banished. On the cross, bleeding from a crown of thorns and a beaten back, Jesus’ words begin, “Father, forgive them….they don’t know ….” and end, “Father, into your hands….” But, before doing so, He declares his work done! It’s one simple Greek word.
He doesn’t whisper it, but in a loud voice declared, “TETELESTAI !”
It’s the word of a Victor!
It’s a powerful word declaring the task’s being done. We hear, “IT IS FINISHED!” and the “IT” is the work the Father assigned him. It’s the work Jesus came to do. He completed it as revealed in his prayer. (John 17) It’s the work of atonement, paying the price so that the debt could be declared, “Paid in Full!” Tetelestai!
Its truth comes home when we realize there’s nothing, absolutely nothing more we can do to accomplish our salvation. Jesus did it! It’s God’s work. The words of the Son declare, “It is finished!” We benefit because he was faithful. Christ’s work was done.
Now ours begins.
How do we feel? How do we respond? Does it affect the way I think, the way I live?
When my days are done, with Paul will I be able to say, “I have run the race and finished the course?” Does my life reveal, “I had to be in my Father’s house” or “Life meant doing my Father’s will?”
Whatever days we’re granted, we have work to finish, commitments to keep.