It Is Finished: Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
“It is finished.”
Jesus and I have walked around these words over and over. It’s true, Jesus and I walk together. Sometimes, it’s more of me pitching a fit, and he’ll just wait for me to wrap it up; sometimes, we don’t walk, instead we sit in the backyard and share a pipe. But I have a lot of questions about “It is finished,” so we walk and talk a lot about this. But, at night, when I lie down, and close my eyes, we are the size of atoms looking upon these massive letters that form this phrase: IT IS FINISHED.
Finished. Finished. Finished.
In Greek, it’s only word: τετέλεσται. It is written in the Perfect Passive (with this beautiful Indicative Mood). The Perfect Tense is incredible because it’s the kind of action that was completed in the past, but with results that click in the present. This tense (Perfect) is found nowhere else in the English language –not easily, anyway– and it’s not used a whole lot throughout the New Testament.
This is the type of verb that would deserve it’s own soundtrack element. Cue up Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, or Dresses. Considering where it comes in the larger story, it is absolutely epic. Genuinely, massively, epic. It’s a tipping point. It’s a portal into another world.
All of the Gospelers are working toward something in the way they tell the story; not just in a workflow sort of way, but with the language, the placement of parables, the order, the framework, the imagery: it’s all as a river flowing to a sea. Except this sea becomes a flood of grace and carries humanity forward with Christ as King! But I am getting ahead of myself. This part in the story is not the end, but the very middle. Jesus has come, he’s lived, now he’s dying, and here we are, right before his heart stops beating. His very human brain is losing oxygen.
The Greek use of tetelestai/teleō is filled with meaning that you expect: “complete,” “finish,” “fulfill,” “accomplish,” “pay in full.” But, it also wants to complete something in such a way that the thing done, or completed, corresponds to what has been said: the order or command, etc..
It is the final act which completes a process started at some other time.
This is why we can say with confidence, “the enemy is defeated, the grave is beaten, the victory is won!”
This is why our Identity is found in Christ, and no longer Adam.
This is why we are Saints, fully redeemed, right here, right now. You’re not half-way in Christ. You don’t have half of the Spirit living in you. Jesus didn’t almost complete his plan.
This is why Salvation is simply a matter of faith for anyone — it’s a waking up to see that Tetelestai! It is finished! There is a new King, wake up, look and see!
This is why it is possible now for the Sanctifying Spirit of Christ to live within us, to raise us, to animate us — because Tetelestai! It is finished!
The Spirit coming was, in time past, the direct result of three things: the defeat of evil, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the rise to the throne. And this is precisely what Jesus did in the past which affects us now in the present. And because all of that was finished but with results that affect us today, we are still seeing the Spirit coming. Were you watching closely? It’s the Present Perfect taking shape. Check it out:
He defeated evil in the past, and the cross still bears witness today.
He rebuilt the temple in the past, most specifically, his body; and we now see the church as his temple, his body, right? We are bearing witness today.
He rose to the throne in the past –the ascension saw him rise, both literally in a cloud and symbolically to sit at the Right Hand of YHWH, at the right hand of God today.
The Spirit now issues forth as the breath of GOD in men and women to animate the body of Christ (who is the king with all authority) to proclaim, of all things, his kingdom.
We are not fighting for the kingdom. We are proclaiming the kingdom. We do not need to take up arms, we need to stand firm.
We say with Christ, Tetelestai. It is finished.
We forgive as Christ because, Tetelestai.
We love like Christ because, Tetelestai.
We were buried and raised with Christ because, Tetelestai.
We are broken and poured out for others as we pray, Kingdom come, your will be done, Come, Holy Spirit, Come!