Finished | Devotion #3: Torn Curtain
Pat Rowland | Locations Pastor
I am very much a “Do It Yourself” kind of guy. I work on my own cars as much as I can and cannot seem to justify paying someone else to do something I know I can do myself. Needless to say, we always have projects going around the Rowland Farm (our little home and hobby farm). Whether it is knocking down a wall, installing new floors, replacing a roof, or fixing a fence, I enjoy these projects. However, it seems like the projects are never done because as soon as you think you are finished there is something else to do. Finished is never finished in homeownership. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was finished.
Jesus’ last saying on the cross is found in John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” As you probably already know, the New Testament scriptures like the book of John have been translated from Greek manuscripts. The Greek word used for “finished” in John 19:30 is “tetelestai” or more properly stated by Jesus, “TETELESTAI!”
This was not an utterance or a last gasp whisper. This was a statement, an announcement declaring the finality of Jesus’ earthly life and the introduction of His free gift of grace. TETELESTAI! Jesus’ death was the fulfillment of the final atonement for our sins which eliminated the barrier between the sinner and the creator.
In the Old Testament, the temple held the significance of being the place of worship and where God’s presence resided. Having been built to very specific instructions by God, the innermost area of the temple was the sanctuary, and within the sanctuary separated by a curtain was the holy of holies. The holy of holies contained the Ark of the Covenant, which according to the Old Testament is where God’s presence rested. It was also off limits except to the High Priest and only to him once a year, when he would enter on the Day of Atonement with the blood of a perfect lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of all Israelites.
After Jesus’ last words an amazing event is recorded in Matthew 27:51 (NIV), “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Jesus said, “TETELESTAI!” and gave up His life. Immediately, the curtain separating us from God’s presence is torn from top to bottom symbolizing the separation that had been eliminated. The sin debt that kept us from God’s presence was atoned with the perfect lamb, Jesus Christ. Jesus paid our debt so that we can never be charged again. It is FINISHED!