Three crosses in sunset

It Is Finished | John 19: 28-30 | Part 1

It is finished | John 19: 28-39 | Part 1 of 4

It is finished | John 19: 28-39 | Part 1 of 4   We are going to embark on a four part study of the cross of Christ. Our focus will be on our English version words: “It is finished” which comes from one word in the original Greek: “tetelestai”.

There is a large segment of Christians whose walk with God looks like a roller-coaster on the timeline of living their life for Jesus. They more often than not base their relationship with Him on how “they feel”. This is most unfortunate as we believers are never told, not one time, to base our walk with God on how we feel on a particular day.

We must remember that our emotions are part of our DNA makeup. And these emotions makeup a considerable portion of man’s “body, soul and spirit”. Most Christians will agree when you explain to them that we live in a sin cursed body. And with their words they will agree that our DNA is also part of that curse which includes our emotions and or feelings.

Lip service knowledge does not help in enabling a human being to grow in his or her relationship with Almighty God. Our feelings change day by day, hour by hour and sometimes seconds by seconds! Our emotions change because of life’s circumstances. God’s Word does not! We are to walk with the Lord based on the unshakable and unmovable truths of His Word-the Bible.

We must understand that our feelings are sin-cursed and very unreliable for us to base our relationships upon. How many times have we felt good about an exam we finished, a procedure we went through or an interview we had just to discover that things did not go the way as our feelings told us?

Feelings lie. Feelings change. Feelings are very unreliable.

Feelings lie. Feelings change. Feelings are very unreliable. God’s Truth is always reliable. His Words and ways never change. They are both unshakable and unmovable! It is for those of us that base our relationship with Him by our feelings that God laid on my heart to conduct this study.

Our text is going to come from the Gospel of John, the nineteenth chapter, verses twenty-eight through thirty. And from these verses we are going to concentrate on one word in the original Greek text which translates to three words in our English versions.

Are you slaving for God’s grace? Or do you walk with Him because of or from His grace?

And for this particular study we are going to approach these words from a grammatical perspective. We are going to answer the interrogative questions concerning our text. You know, the ones we learned in English class while preparing research papers. The questions of how, who, what, where, when and why. Before we answer the first interrogative question of how let’s read our text. I have the renderings from a few different versions.

“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, (tetelestai) and so that Scripture would be fulfilled (teleio’ō), Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished (tetelestai).” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19: 28-30, NIV, added mine).

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished (tetelestai), to fulfill (teleio’ō), the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so, they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! (tetelestai)” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19: 28-30, NASB, added & emphasis mine).

And finally, from the NKJV: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, (tetelestai) that the Scripture might be fulfilled (teleio’ō), said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” (tetelestai) And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19: 28-30, added & emphasis mine).

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (KJV).


I) The first interrogative question is “how” was it finished?

Christ satisfied God's justice by dying for all to pay for the sins of the elect. These sins can never be punished again since that would violate God's justice. Sins can only be punished once, either by a substitute or by yourself.

Everything had been accomplished which the Father appointed for Jesus to do according to the Scriptures.

... “it is finished” teléō: to end, i.e. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform.

“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete (teléō).” (Rev. 15: 1, added mine).

Once the last seven plagues were poured out on the sinful and rebellious world, the wrath of God will have been fulfilled, complete, brought about to a finish: teléō

In our text the verb tetelestai is in the perfect tense: the action has been completed and the result of that action is ongoing and with full effect.

The atonement has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time. We receive the verification of this because He arose from the dead. The only human being who was dead, but now is alive. Do you realize that Jesus Christ is the ONLY human being that died, His death was verified and He was placed in a government guarded grave and three days later defeated death and the grave, as He arose from the dead! The ONLY human being that went to the grave and came back from it! Let me say it again: Jesus Christ is the only human being who died, went to the grave and came back from the dead. He is alive. Praise His name.

Buddha . . . Mohammad . . . Zoroaster... they are all dead. When you visit their graves, you are visiting their dead, cold, lifeless and rotten bodies. Not so when you visit the tomb of Jesus Christ is Jerusalem. It is empty!

The verb is also in the passive voice: Not only in the perfect tense but the verb is also in the passive voice which represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. E.g., in the sentence, "The boy was hit by the ball," the boy receives the action. Jesus was punished for our sins. He paid the price for our salvation. Jesus received the punishment for all mankind’s sins. He was sacrificed for your sin and my sin. And not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. It was finished by Jesus Christ.

And the verb is in the indicative mood: The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact or an actual occurrence from the writer's or speaker's perspective. It is finished! That’s a fact! It is an undeniable, authenticated, eternal fact that Jesus Christ died for our sin punishment.

Dr. Ray Pritchard of the site had this to say concerning the word tetelestai: “Tetelestai comes from the verb teléō, 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."”

Tony Miano of Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry listed different usages of the phrase tetelestai in his article entitled, ““It Is Finished!” Jesus Does Not Need Your Help”.

An artist might have said Tetelestai! when he finished a painting in order to announce, "the picture is perfect. tetelestai

A servant might have confidently said Tetelestai! when asked by his master if the work he had been assigned to do was complete. The servant would say, “Yes, master. I have finished the work.” tetelestai

A priest might have said Tetelestai! when he recognized an unblemished and acceptable sacrifice for God. The priest would announce to the person offering the sacrifice that the offering was acceptable according to the law of God. tetelestai

A judge might have said Tetelestai! when he conferred a sentence or when issuing a ruling that a sentence had been completed. The judge would say, "Justice has been served." tetelestai

And finally, “A merchant might have said Tetelestai! after stamping a bill "the debt has been paid." The word tetelestai was written on business documents and receipts in the Greek New Testament times. It verified that the bill had been paid in full. Tetelestai . . . It is finished!

How was it finished? Our text states: ““After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished ...”. Totally and fully. That’s how! Mission accomplished! Everything that had to be done has been done! It is finished!"


The second of our six questions is who are involved with the crucifixion of Christ? Who are the characters involved with our text?

II) The second interrogative question is “who” are involved with the crucifixion of Christ”?

Annas/Caiphas: Annas and Caiphas were Jewish High priests in the time of Christ. Annas was the father in law of Caiphas, though of the two Caiphas appeared to have the greater power. It is Caiphas who prophesied that it would be better for one man to die for all the people as he called for the death of Christ (Matthew 26:57-58, John 18:24). Both Annas and Caiphas presided over the trial of Jesus, and later they presided over the trials of Peter and John

Barabbas: The criminal who should have received judgment. The devilish crowd requested a criminal instead of their Christ. The set free the murderer and sentenced the Messiah. Barabbas was the first human to be declared innocent of his crimes and to be set free by the crucifixion of the Son of God.

Jehovah God: God the Father was involved with the crucifixion of His Son; His only Son! The sacrifice of the Lamb of God had been His masterful plan all along. He is the One Who ordered the angels to remove and guard the celestial crown from the Lord Jesus’ head prior to His departure to this world. He had them remove His royal robes and hold the King’s scepter as He readied to make His plight to this earth in the form of a baby.

It was Jehovah God Who had great pleasure in His Son. He watched Jesus as He grew from a baby to a boy into a young adult and finally to a man. A man in whom God was well pleased. He was so proud of Jesus that He broke His heavenly silence and made sure He told us of how pleased He was! It was this same Father that sent angels to strengthen His Son Jesus after the hot and horrendous desert temptations of the evil one.

It was Jehovah God that listened to the conversations of His Son as Jesus tried to show what His Father is like to His creation, even in hostility. And yes, ... sadly, . . . it was Jehovah God that had to turn His back this one time throughout eternity, both past and eternity future as the mass sin of the world was laid on Jesus’ shoulder. It was Jehovah God that listened to His Son’s cries from the cross questioning why His Father had forsaken Him. It was Jehovah God that had to punish His Son for the penalties of all the sin of mankind. Jehovah God, the Father of Jesus Christ was one of the main characters involved in the “who” of the crucifixion.

This has been part one of a four-part series. Next time we'll pick up here where we left off with “Jesus Christ”, the main character of the “who” of the crucifixion.
Let’s go to church this Sunday. These are certainly troubling and uncertain times that we live in. From the ever growing national debt, to corrupt, lying, greedy politicians, extremist’s terrorists, slipping moralities to God only knows what’s next. I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be a national debate over sex gender and bathrooms! I don’t remember when people had such a low opinion and dismal outlook about our country and where it is headed. Very few people that we come in contact with on a daily basis have a very positive attitude. 

Both born from above and the un-regenerate, very few! This great nation of ours is on a speeding train of declination. The train is on a track to degradation and she is picking up steam: fast! Ole Uncle Sam needs a revival. From the president and his administration in the White house right down to the kid behind the counter at McDonald's. We need a fresh awakening from the Holy Spirit of God. America needs another outpouring of the Holy Ghost as was experienced by the first century Church.
Come join our pastor, our church and me in praying for revival. Won’t you join me today and start by carrying ourselves and our loved ones to church. I need church, you need church, your family needs the Church! If you are in the Clay county area of North Florida come worship with us at Harbor Baptist church located on the corner of Clay Street (1120) & US Hwy 17, Fleming Island, FL. We are located just to the right of Corky Bell’s Seafood restaurant. Morning worship is at 10:30 and we meet Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m.

Better yet, come join our group for Bible study with the adults. I lead the adult class entitled: “Harbor Haven, for pairs and spares”. (For couples and singles) We meet @ 9:14 in the main room of the education building. This is the building located right next to the church. We would love for you to come and fellowship with us around the Word of God. And feel free to bring a guest. Whether you attend the worship service or choose not to, we hope to see you for Bible study!
We pride ourselves with being a smaller church with the big difference. I don’t believe you will find another fellowship of believers who have a greater love for God and as a result of His love for us, we have love for one another. You’ll find me and my family there, come visit, both you and our church will be glad that you did!

I am happy to speak on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ in the North Florida area. I am a conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist teacher whose doctrinal beliefs align with those of the Southern Baptist Convention. My doctrinal views are listed in the menu section of this site. If your pastor is sick, has a sudden emergency or needs a vacation, I am happy to fill in for him. You can contact me by email at:

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