Friday, April 10, 2009
Paid In Full
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(Joh 19:30 NIV)
The phrase "It is finished" is the one word in Greek called tetelestai...... it also gives the meaning of "paid in full".
The tense of this verb is important to us -- perfect tense (tetelestai). In Greek the perfect tense signifies a past action, the effect of which continues into the present. It has been completed and is still complete. The effect of the tense in this verb is a sense of finality.
Moulton and Milligan pored over many of these receipts and contracts to better understand New Testament Greek. They observed that receipts are often introduced by the phrase tetelestai, usually written in an abbreviated manner indicating that the bill had been paid in full.55 The obligation has been completed. The debt has been paid off. Tetelestai -- it is finished.
Read an excerpt about tetelestai:
Was, Is And Always Will Be
Tetelestai comes from the verb teleo, which means “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It’s a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. It’s the word you would use when you climb to the peak of Mt. Everest; it’s the word you would use when you turn in the final copy of your dissertation; it’s the word you would use when you make the final payment on your new car; it’s the word you use when you cross the finish line of your first 10K run. The word means more than just “I survived.” It means “I did exactly what I set out to do.”
But there’s more here than the verb itself. Tetelestai is in the perfect tense in Greek. That’s significant because the perfect tense speaks of an action which has been completed in the past with results continuing into the present. It’s different from the past tense which looks back to an event and says, “This happened.” The perfect tense adds the idea that “This happened and it is still in effect today.”
When Jesus cried out “It is finished,” he meant “It was finished in the past, it is still finished in the present and it will remain finished in the future.”
Note one other fact. He did not say, “I am finished,” for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted. Rather, he cried out “It is finished,” meaning “I successfully completed the work I came to do.”
Tetelestai, then, is the Savior’s final cry of victory. When he died, he left no unfinished business behind. When he said, “It is finished,” he was speaking the truth........
Matthew Henry expands on what Christ’s death accomplished in four statements, each one beginning with the letter F. The death of Christ provided a . . .
A. Full satisfaction for sin
B. Fatal blow to Satan
C. Fountain of grace opened that will flow forever
D. Foundation of peace laid that will last forever
.......there is more to the meaning of tetelestai. It means all of the above, but it especially applies to the price paid for the sins of the world. Merrill Tenney (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, IX, 185) notes that the verb
was used in the first and second centuries in the sense of “fulfilling” or “paying” a debt and often appeared in receipts. “It is finished” (Tetelestai) could be interpreted as “Paid in full.”
“Paid in full” means that once a thing is paid for, you never have to pay for it again. In fact, “paid in full” means that once a thing is paid for, it is foolish to try to pay for it again.