After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.
There was one final prophecy of Scripture to be fulfilled before Jesus would die—one last detail to perfect. Everything about this crucifixion event, traditionally called “The Passion,” is intentional in Scripture. Every dark stroke of the Artist’s brush completes perfectly the picture of redemption. Even the species of the branch they used was foreshadowed in David’s ancient Psalm 51 as he pled to be washed clean of his murderous adultery. “Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7).” When Jesus said, “It is finished” in verse 30, the original Greek of the Bible used the word Tetelestai which was also used in financial ledgers to indicate that a debt had been paid in full.
Among the troves of artifacts littering the locales of the biblical world, bank statements marked with Tetelestai are prevalent. They are the equivalent to calling Dave Ramsey’s studio and shouting, “We’re debt-free!” Jesus did not pay our sin debt partially. We do not meet Him halfway in our own salvation. He and He alone went to the cross and paid what we could not.
As the great hymn written by the afflicted Horatio Spafford and put to melody by Philip Bliss, “It is Well with my Soul,” proclaims in its third stanza, “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
Based on the final sentence of verse 30, who was in control during the crucifixion? Why would Jesus not give up His spirit before this?
Pray: Confess sin to God and abide gratefully in His mercy and grace for you. Thank Him for His sacrifice upon the cross.