Tetelestai

 

Last Saturday was a relatively warm day. It wasn’t blistering hot, but it was warm enough. My yard was beginning to look like the beginnings of a Old Fort rainforest. It needed mowing, badly. So, I roared up my lawn mower and went to work. After I was finished mowing, I went back and took a weed eater and cut in the edges. After it was done, I sat down on my front porch and just looked at it. Proud of my accomplishment and hard work my wife even acknowledged the freshly bladed grass.

As you are reading this, and in spite of that great hard work, something is coming tomorrow. I have to mow again. The job was done temporarily. Really just delayed until the next growth.

Now lets switch gears, and talk about the title of this post which you are probably wondering about. Tetelestai is a Greek word. This is one of the words Jesus used on the cross. It means “it is finished.”

What was finished?

John Stott gives great insight about this:

Being in the perfect tense, it means “it has been and will for ever remain finished.” We note the achievement Jesus claimed just before he died. It is not men who finished their brutal deed; it is he who has accomplished what he came into the world to do. He has borne the sins of the world. Deliberately, freely and in perfect love he has endured the judgment in our place. He has procured salvation for us, established a new covenant between God and humankind, and made available the chief covenant blessing, the forgiveness of sins. At once the curtain of the temple, which for centuries had symbolized the alienation of sinners from God, was torn in two from top to bottom, in order to demonstrate that the sin barrier had been thrown down by God and the way into his presence opened.

John Stott, The Cross of Christ

The work of man does not last. It is temporary. The work of Jesus Christ lasts forever. The  video at the bottom of the page is the music video for Matt Papa’s song “It Is Finished.” Most of the footage comes from the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

I just rewatched it, and I’m crying. I am reminded of what his work demanded of him. What the will of God demanded of him. I am reminded that my sin was placed squarely on his shoulders as he carried it to the cross.

My punishment delivered to a sinless king.

Here on Good Friday, let us remember the cross…but Sunday’s coming.

I Love to Tell the Story

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:33-35 ESV)

There is something about good news that cannot be contained. An engagement requires an announcement. A pregnancy demands telling. So it was with Cleopas and his friend. As soon as Jesus had departed from their presence, they departed from their place. They couldn’t wait any longer. Though it was evening and had grown dark–and the trek back from Emmaus to Jerusalem was dangerous in the dark–they got up that same hour and returned to Jerusalem.

This poses a question for you and me: Is the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection that fresh to us? Who have you told this week? Who did you invite to worship with you? Who came to your mind and you got up from where you were and ran as fast as you could (or drove of course!) and said, “I have something to tell you. I’ve seen Jesus and what he said and did changed my life!” Who has heard your story?

Take five minutes, watch and take in this beautiful rendition of Tell Me the Story of Jesus: 

Invite someone to worship tomorrow to hear the story.

From Broken Hearts to Burning Hearts

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:28-35 ESV)

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” When Jesus taught them the Scriptures they had no idea it was Jesus. He preached Himself from the Scriptures–and their hearts burned within them. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus enlivens the believer’s heart. Preaching Jesus from the Old Testament turns weary forlorn travelers into winsome evangelists.

Allow me to wonder a minute. Did Jesus tell them he was the serpent of Numbers 21 lifted up on the pole? Did Jesus explain that David’s words in Psalm 22:1 were written for him: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Did he tell them Jonah’s stint in the belly of the fish was foreshadowing his own journey into the heart of the earth?”

What a sermon!

The good news of Jesus turns broken hearts into burning hearts.

O Foolish Ones

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:21-27 ESV)

Was it not necessary? If anyone knew it was necessary to suffer it was Jesus. The events in the Garden of Gethsemane were not even a week old. In that garden he described his soul as “being sorrowful even unto death.” He then fell on his face praying saying, “My Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” Three times he asked the Father if he could pass on the Roman scourging and the cruel cross. Three times silence came from Heaven. Three times the disciples fell asleep. Jesus knew the necessity of suffering.

Jesus’s groan came before his glory. “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Why was it necessary? One word: justice. Throughout the entire Old Testament, once a year, a sacrifice was offered for the people’s sins. The sacrifice didn’t sin–it was an innocent lamb offered for the people’s sins. Jesus took the Old Testament and preached Himself to them. What a sermon! I would love to have a copy of it!

Are you “slow of heart to believe?”

But We Had Hoped

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. (Luke 24:21 ESV)

There are two kinds of hope and they are quickly discerned and easily defined. If I plan to work outside today I’ll say, “I hope it doesn’t rain.” That statement could easily be translated, “I wish it wouldn’t rain.” In this case hope is defined as wishful thinking. This kind of hope is part of our everyday existence. We live in the land of wishful thinking.

uncommon_sense_hopeCleopas and his friend banked on such hope. But we had hoped.They had their own hopes for Jesus, their own aspirations for his life. When he fell short of their dreams, they assumed he had fallen short of His purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Christian hope is not wishful thinking. Christian hope is confident expectation. Paul talked about this hope in Romans:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

Confident expectation in God’s character and God’s promises will never put us to shame. God comes through every time. When we mold God’s plan into our own design and He “comes up empty” we’re embarrassed. Our faith falters. We wonder what went wrong. Sometimes we even blame God. Somehow Cleopas and his friend missed this conversation Jesus had with his disciples:

For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40 ESV)

By the third day their hopes were dashed. But it was on the third day, the day on which they lost hope, that Hope was resurrected and joined them on the Emmaus Road. It was on the third day, the day they gave up, that Hope rose up victorious over every doubt they had. It was on the third day, they day they decided to desert and return to Emmaus, that Hope joined them on their devastating journey home.

They had no idea that everything they ever hoped for was walking on the Emmaus Road with them.

The Deception of Disillusionment

And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. (Luke 24:17-20 ESV)

Jesus approached these two forlorn disciples on a long road back from what they thought was a failed mission. Their fearless leader had succumbed to the Jewish religious hierarchy and the cruel Roman torture called crucifixion. When Jesus found them, they stood still, looking sad. You can hear the biting sarcasm in Cleopas’ statement: “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

He played ignorant. Jesus played ignorant! “What things?” he asked. Their answer to his question revealed the source of their disillusionment. Dictionary.com defines disillusionment as: disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be. They answered, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…”

They were disillusioned because they expected too little, not too much! They thought of Jesus as a prophet, not the Prophet; as one who prophesied before God not as God. They were deceived by their low, incomplete view of Jesus.

What are your expectations of Jesus? Is it possible that His greatest accomplishment has fallen to the bottom of your list of expectations of him? Are you disappointed because the healing didn’t come you prayed for, someone else got the job you prayed for, the relationship you prayed for ended in an ugly breakup? I am not trying to diminish your suffering. I only encourage you to see Jesus for who He is, not who He isn’t. Paul had this in mind when he wrote:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32 ESV)

God is for you…even when He doesn’t make sense.

The Power of an Invitation

He walked on water.invitation

He was on the Mount of Transfiguration.

He was the first apostle to see Jesus after he was resurrected.

He preached the first sermon in the early church after Pentecost.

His name was Peter.

How did he come to Jesus? Check this out:

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:40-42 ESV)

Peter’s brother Andrew invited him. We hear little of Andrew. We know much of Peter.

Andrew brought Peter to Jesus.

Don’t underestimate the power of an invitation!

Bring someone to church tomorrow. Services are at 8 am, 9:30 am and 11 am.

Who knows what God has planned for the person you’ll “bring to Jesus!”

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Comin’

S.M. Lockridge, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego for 40 years, shared these memorable words:

It’s Friday
Jesus is praying
Peter’s a sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
Pilate’s struggling
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’

It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning

It’s Friday
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands
To the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross
And then they raise him up
Next to criminals

It’s Friday
But let me tell you something
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming
Has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by his Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save him?
Ooooh
It’s Friday
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields his spirit

It’s Friday
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughin’

It’s Friday
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place

But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!

Sunday’s Coming! from CTR Memphis on Vimeo.