What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘It is Finished!’?

28 After this, Jesus having known everything that had been completed that the Scripture may be fulfilled, said, “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of vinegar was there, so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on a hyssop branch and put it to his mouth. 30 Therefore, when he received the vinegar, Jesus said, “It is finished.” And having bowed his head, he gave up his Spirit. John 19:28-30 (NA28 Greek text)

Many of those with whom we earnestly contend for the faith have a problem with the absolute truth that is presented to us in the three verses above. Many of them may deny the fact that they hold to a form of salvation that denies the sufficiency of the atoning work of Christ on the cross to accomplish all that is required for all of the elect to not only believe the gospel, but also to persevere….

Those who have doubts about that do so because they either do not understand or believe the doctrine of imputation. We have looked at this many times and I do not intend to go into that here. In this post we will look at what Christ meant when he knew that everything had been completed in John 19:28 and then said so in John 19:30.

In the passage above (John 19:28-30) the Greek verb τετέλεσται (tetelestai) is used in both v28 and v30. In both cases it is in the perfect tense, indicative mood, and passive voice case of τελέω (teleō), “end, goal, to make and end or accomplishment, to complete anything, not merely to end it, but to bring it to perfection or to its destined goal, to carry it through.” Τελέω  was originally derived from τέλος (telos), which “originally meant the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later, the goal, the end.” From this we learn that τελέω means “to bring to a τέλος, to complete.”  View article →