Paid In Full (Happy Resurrection Day!)
It is hard to be perplexed or confused when you see the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). And it is impossible to be afraid, alarmed, or discouraged when what you saw was your complete victory. Christ was able to endure the Cross because of the joy set before him – the redemption of earth and His family (Hebrews 12:2).
I am always somewhat amused when I see Hollywood’s depiction of Christ as He gave up His spirit on the Cross. They typically have Him barely whispering, with His last bit of strength, “It… is… finished,” (John 19:30). The producers, of course, see this as Christ announcing His death. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In the first place, those were not His last words spoken on the Cross. His final words are, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” And the words, “It is finished” actually are one Greek word – and it does NOT refer to His death! Christ was actually making an announcement, even a proclamation. And He did not barely breathe out the word; He cried out with a loud voice (Mark 15:37).
The word in Greek is tetelestai. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:31; three of his seven sayings on the Cross come from this Psalm. The Hebrew word used there is asah. We don’t really know whether Jesus shouted the Hebrew or Greek word. Since scripture uses both, it is fair to say both words accurately describe what He was communicating.
Asah, the Hebrew word, means “to perform, accomplish or fulfill” something. It is also the Hebrew word for “create,” used to describe many facets of physical creation. Jesus could have been announcing that He had accomplished the mission, performing all that was required of him. Or He could have been declaring the birth of the new creation. Or both!
The root of the Greek word Jesus used in John 19:30, teleo, means “to complete, perform, or accomplish;” another definition is “to finish the necessary process, with the results rolling over to the next level or phase of consummation.” And still another meaning is, “to pay.” This form of the word Jesus used, tetelestai, was stamped on the invoices of that day, meaning, “paid in full.” And the tense of the word in the Greek language indicates both “a point in time that something was finished, completed, or paid, and also that it would continue to be complete!” WOW!
Putting these definitions together, Jesus was announcing that He had accomplished all that was necessary – for all time and eternity, paid the debt in full, consummated our redemption so that we could now enter the next phase of God‘s plan: the new creation in Him! This decree was the New Testament’s version of Genesis’ creative commands, “Let there be!”
The Resurrection, three days later, was a foregone conclusion. God had already seen and declared it – that’s why He laughed at the powers of darkness (Psalm 2:4) when they declared Christ would not rule over them (verses 1-3). Hell has never intimidated Yahweh nor made Him question His ability to do as He says. As far as God was concerned, Christ had risen before He even died!
And also, as far as God is concerned, a glorious church, an Ekklesia that can fully reveal and represent the risen Lord is guaranteed. A legislative arm of His kingdom on planet earth that the gates of hell cannot prevail against is inevitable. Yes, the preparation of this Ekklesia is still in process, but just as surely as Christ is risen, it is settled in heaven.
After I came back to Christ in 1973, following two years of wandering caused by a very deep wound, one of the first messages I heard was entitled, “What Satan Saw On the Day of Pentecost,” by Kenneth Copeland. It rocked my world. The bottom line of the message was that those in the Upper Room received Christ’s nature and righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). They were now one with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17), filled with His Spirit (Acts 2:4), even called Christians, which means, “little Christs.” First John 4:17 actually says, “all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world.”
Satan had been beaten up by Christ in every possible way for three years. The blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, and the dead were raised. Then just when he thought he had finally defeated the Son of God, Christ turned the tables on him and rose from the dead. At least He was finally gone from the planet, back to heaven, satan must have thought. Then, on the day of Pentecost, satan’s absolute worst nightmare was realized: there were 120 more just like Him!
And the multiplication has never stopped.
Christ brought us into the family of God. He made us His brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the Most High God, His joint-heirs. We bear His image and name. We are filled with His Spirit and completely authorized to reveal and represent Him on earth. And that can never be stopped or reversed.
That. . . is what Resurrection Sunday means to me!
Pray with me:
Thank you, Father, for sending Jesus. Thank You for loving us enough to reverse the Fall and bring us back into Your family. Thank You for such a great salvation.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming. Thank You for joining the human race, so that we could join You in Your family. Thank You for making us joint-heirs with You. Thank You for the Cross, and thank you for winning! Thank You for the Resurrection. You are the Conquering King, You never lose, You are good all the time, and we love You with all of our hearts.
Thank you Holy Spirit for coming to dwell in us. Thank you for being our Helper, our Counselor, our Guide, and our source of power. Thank You for being ever-present.
This day we celebrate the three of You, our great God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
We declare that Jesus is risen, indeed!