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TETELESTAI!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, August 5, 2012

“He said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).


Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9:00 in the morning. Those who watched Him dying there cried out for Him to prove that He was the Son of God by coming down from the cross.

The crowd that passed by shouted at Jesus, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40).

Then the chief priests, scribes and elders from the temple passed by the cross, and said the same thing,

“The chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matthew 27:41-42).

The Roman soldiers, who had beaten Him earlier, crowned Him with thorns, and pulled out swatches of His beard, also told Him to come down from the cross and save Himself.

“The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luke 23:36-37).

The two thieves that were crucified on either side of Jesus also cried out for Him to come down from the Cross and thus prove that He was the Son of God.

“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth” (Matthew 27:43-44).

Later that day the second thief was still yelling at Him, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luke 23:39).

Why did all these people cry out, “Come down from the cross”? Why did they all agree? The priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole crowd, the Roman soldiers, and even the thieves that were crucified, all agreed, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). I have no doubt that it was Satan who inspired all of them to mock Jesus, and call for Him to save Himself from the cross. Earlier, when Jesus said that He would be crucified, Peter rebuked Him and said, “This shall not be” (Matthew 16:22). Jesus turned to him and said, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23). The Devil had persuaded Peter to advise Jesus not to go to the cross. Therefore we know that Satan did not want Jesus to be crucified. The Devil hates the crucifixion and the Blood of Christ. Satan knows that men cannot be saved from sin without Christ’s death in the place of sinners. So, I believe that it was Satan himself who inspired these wicked men to mock Jesus and say, “Save thyself, and come down from the cross” (Mark 15:30).

But thank God Jesus did not listen to them! Jesus could easily have done what they said. He could easily have come down from the cross. But, if He had, no one could be saved from the penalty of sin, and eternal punishment in Hell!

Up Calvary’s mountain, one dreadful morn,
   Walked Christ my Saviour, weary and worn;
Facing for sinners death on the cross,
   That He might save them from endless loss.
Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
   Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
   Blind and unheeding – dying for me!
(“Blessed Redeemer” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

Now we come to the end of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He has received the vinegar from the soldiers. He has made full atonement for our sins. And now He cries out,

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

And He bows His head and dies.

Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that Jesus cried with a loud voice before He died. But they do not tell us what He said when He cried out. Only John tells us that He cried, “It is finished.” “Tetelestai” is the Greek word in the New Testament. It is translated into three words in English, “It is finished.”

Many things were finished when Jesus died. But I am only going to mention three of them – 1. His suffering was finished. 2. God’s wrath against our sin was finished. 3. Our salvation was finished.

I. First, Jesus’ suffering was finished.

He had suffered all His life. When He was a baby King Herod tried to kill Him. Joseph had to take Mary and the baby Jesus into exile in Egypt to keep Him from being killed by the murderous King.

He had been misunderstood all His life. Even His mother and brothers had thought He was “beside himself.” When He preached His first sermon the people tried to throw Him from the top of a hill and kill Him. A number of times we are told that the scribes and Pharisees tried to slay Him. The Pharisees even tried to stone Him to death. When most of His followers turned away from Him, He said to His Disciples, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). He lived His life on earth in poverty and reproach. Even though He did so many miracles, and healed so many sick people, they said that He was a demon possessed lunatick.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before He was crucified, His Disciples went to sleep and left Him alone. There in Gethsemane, as He prayed, “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). When He was arrested a few minutes later, “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

The soldiers dragged Him before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate had Him flogged nearly to death. They pulled out His beard, and beat Him in the face. They pushed a cruel crown of thorns down on His bleeding Head. Jesus said, through the prophet Isaiah,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Then they made Him carry His cross to the place of execution. They pounded nails through His hands and feet, and He hung naked on the cross. Lamentations 1:12 describes the horrible sorrow and suffering Jesus went through,

“Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me” (Lamentations 1:12).

When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” it meant that His life of suffering on earth was finished. It meant that the suffering He experienced in an unfriendly world, among sinful people, was finished at last. No wonder He felt joy as He went to the cross!

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2a).

He went joyfully to the cross because He knew it was the end of His suffering on earth, and that He would soon go back to Heaven, “at the right hand of...God” (Hebrews 12:2b). No wonder He cried out,

“It is finished.”

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
   For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah, What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

II. Second, God’s wrath against our sin was finished.

The most horrible thing about the crucifixion was that Jesus took our sins into His own body. He “who knew no sin” was made “sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21). Jesus not only bore the penalty for our sins, but He bore the sins themselves in His own holy body on the cross. The Apostle Peter said,

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree”
       (I Peter 2:24).

The worst thing about the crucifixion was not the physical pain. Other men have been tortured, burned at the stake, and crucified. But Jesus suffered what no other human being could suffer.

In his book, Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand told of a priest who was tortured with him in a Communist prison, and broke under the torture. The priest said to Wurmbrand, “Forgive me, brother, I have suffered more than Christ.” I can understand why the poor man said that in his agony, but he was wrong. No one ever suffered as Jesus suffered – because no one else has ever had the sins of the world placed in his own body. He actually bore our sins, as well as the penalty for our sins.

Also, Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross. I know that this is very difficult to understand, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible says,

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Again it says,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin...” (Isaiah 53:10).

When Jesus died on the cross, He died with our sins upon Him, and with the wrath of God upon Him for our sins. No wonder Jesus cried out,

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
       (Matthew 27:46).

God the Father turned away from His only begotten Son, as Jesus was made a sin-offering on the cross. God’s wrath against our sins was appeased when Jesus cried out,

“It is finished.”

When you trust Jesus, no wrath or judgment from God will fall on you. Why? Because God’s judgment for sin already fell on Jesus as He died on the cross. But, if you reject Jesus, you must pay for your own sins in Hell.

III. Third, our salvation was finished.

Not long ago three young men came to see me, seeking to be saved. All three of them hated their fathers, thus breaking the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12). I told all three of them to trust Jesus, and thus have their sins cleansed by His precious Blood. One of them did that. He trusted Christ and was saved. Then he went to his father and asked forgiveness. But the other two did not trust Jesus. Instead they went home and asked their fathers to forgive them. What a shame! They did not trust Jesus, but instead they trusted their own good work of asking their fathers to forgive them. But the Bible says,

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5).

We are not saved by doing something, even if what we do is good! We are saved by the mercy of Christ alone, because of His finished work on the cross! The jailer at Philippi said, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The Apostle Paul told him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). All you have to do to be saved is trust Jesus!

Jesus did everything for you on the cross. When He said, “It is finished,” it meant that everything you need was finished. Now there is nothing you need to do but trust Him. The moment you trust Jesus you will instantly be saved by Him – for all time and all eternity!

James Hudson Taylor was the founder of the China Inland Mission. Before he went to China, when he was only fifteen years old, Hudson Taylor read a little booklet titled, “The Finished Work of Christ.” While reading this booklet he realized that everything he needed to be saved had already been accomplished by Jesus on the cross! Hudson Taylor got down on his knees and trusted Jesus. He was saved immediately – and went on to become a great missionary in China. I am asking you to do the same thing James Hudson Taylor did. Repent and trust Jesus in simple faith. He will pardon your sins and save your soul, because

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

Everything you need to be saved was finished by Jesus on the cross. Come to Him and trust Him, and you will be saved this very morning!

I am going to sing a song. If you would like to know more about becoming a Christian, please step to the back of the auditorium while I sing. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place for prayer and counselling. Please go while I sing.

I hear Thy welcome voice, That calls me, Lord, to Thee
   For cleansing in Thy precious blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.
(“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

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write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Mark 15:29-37.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Blessed Redeemer” (by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).


THE OUTLINE OF

TETELESTAI!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“He said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost”
(John 19:30).

(Matthew 27:40, 41-42; Luke 23:36-37; Matthew 27:43-44;
Luke 23:39; Matthew 16:22, 23; Mark 15:30)

I.   First, Jesus’ suffering was finished, John 6:67; Luke 22:44;
Matthew 26:56; Isaiah 50:6; Lamentations 1:12; Hebrews 12:2.

II.  Second, God’s wrath against our sin was finished, II Corinthians 15:21;
I Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:6, 10; Matthew 27:46.

III. Third, our salvation was finished, Exodus 20:12; Titus 3:5;
Acts 16:30, 31.