"After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it in His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished." and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."
John 20:29-30, ESV
It is finished.
Three words that changed the world as our Savior breathed His last breath. Well, except Jesus that didn't speak English, so rather than saying three words, He just said one-- τετέλεσται (in english: tetelestai).
i had never heard this word before last fall when one of my friends spoke on it at our college retreat. He's crazy wise and cool and as he was speaking, i was almost in disbelief of how detailed our Creator is. i know nothing about the Greek language, but i've learned on multiple accounts in the past few months about this one word, tetelestai. The tense of it is "perfect passive indicative" which according to my new friends at carm.org means this, "The perfect tense indicates that the progress of an action has been completed and the result of that action is ongoing and with full effect. The passive voice indicates that the subject of the sentence is being acted upon, and the indicative mood indicates a statement of fact or an actual occurrence from the writer's or speaker's perspective."
It is finished.
It is being finished.
It will be finished.
The work of the cross accomplished what it needed to in that moment, it is accomplishing things right now, and it is continuing to accomplish things every day. He is continuing to finish His work. His victory is not conditional to the moment that Jesus died. He is fighting our battles right now and He is going to fight the battles that we face in the future.
This semester, i've been learning about myself and my past and it's been really, really hard. i've been depressed (again) and it's made it hard to do anything, let alone live a functional life with two jobs and 18 class hours. i've dealt with depression for seven years and it's exhausting. i don't want to be depressed anymore! i came into 2015 ready to be happy, when in reality i was denying myself the road to health because i wouldn't acknowledge the fact that depression had set it. After my counselor diagnosed me with depression i went back and read my journal, only to find that i had been screaming "I am depressed!!" in every way other than straight saying it. Upon the diagnosis, i began thinking of how i can beat it, overcome it, get my life to a place where depression has no place. Then Jesus gently whispered "tetelestai" to me.
When i think about my past and how it's weighing in on my present, the same thing comes to mind. When i try and plan for the future, but the thoughts of the unknowns of mental illness come rolling in, the Father reminds me again and again that the battle that i am trying to fight has already been won. He sent His son to die so that we may be whole, free, and happy. He won the battle over anything and everything that could keep us from those things.
We don't have to fight anymore, because it is finished.
We don't have to worry anymore, because it is finished.
We don't have to live outside of freedom anymore, because it is finished.
He has finished it-- all of it. Whatever "it" may stand for in your life, it is finished. Don't let it take victory in your life that it doesn't deserve. In the act of finishing it, He gave us access to freedom and joy. He gave us access to Himself! He gave us the ability to live life without the carrying the weight of the struggles we face. He wants us to live embracing who He is, rather than living as victims to sin. Yes, we are victims of our own sin and often other peoples', but that doesn't mean we have to live as victims! He has set us free from that! As Jesus' spirit left Him, the veil was torn, and He won.
It's easy to overcomplicate it and convince ourselves that it's too good to be true. It's easy to take it and say, "tetelestai is a cool word but there's no way Jesus is going to beat *insert problem here* for me" but guys, there is a way! It's the gospel. He beat death, He can beat my depression. He can pick me up from the pit of sin and carry me to freedom. He wins every single day. He is continuing to finish His work in and through and around us every minute of everyday.
As i've dealt with depression this semester, it's been different. i haven't exhausted myself trying to get well, but i have sat back in my Savior's arms and allowed Him to walk me through it. It's still been dark and hard and heavy, but it's felt so much more possible. It's been a process of learning to truly trust Him, to live in Romans 8:28, and to allow Him to care for me in this. There have been more days than one where i've gotten lost in the gray and His light seemed far off; but there have been more days where the only reason i've been able to get out of bed has been because of the confidence i have in who God is. Living depressed sucks, frankly, but living depressed and confident that Jesus is finishing this work is a lot better. Acknowledging who God is and who He says we are and what He says He's doing takes away the power of our struggle. We have to believe in His truth-- to believe tetelestai.
Last Thursday, i got my second tattoo. On my left "inner elbow" (not my term) my arm now reads "tetelestai" so that i have no reason to forget. i can look at my arm and know and believe that my Savior is fighting for me. When i try and take control or carry the weight of my struggles or i allow myself to get overwhelmed, all i have to do is look down and remember and trust. My battle with depression is not a battle i have to fight. My battle to overcome my past is not something i have to face alone-- i have the King of kings on my side, fighting on the frontline, finishing His work to make me whole.
He has finished it friends. May we rest in the Father as we trust Him to overcome our struggles for us.