Devotions

Category Archives: Spoken

The End that was the Beginning

Finished | Devotion #6: The End that was the Beginning
LaRae Wing | Secretary

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  John 19:30

In our world of calendars, schedules, and agendas, the word “finished” is often viewed as “over and done with.” It seems to implicate that something has been checked off a list and it is time to move on to the next thing: Get up, work out, make breakfast, balance checkbook, drop kids at school, go to work, finish  project, meet with boss, pick up kids, take daughter to gymnastics, coach son’s softball team, pick up daughter, prepare dinner, clean garage, help kids with homework, put kids to bed, breathe for 5 minutes before trying to complete ten other things that need to be done before bed, write out tomorrow’s schedule, fall into bed for a few hours of exhausted sleep, get up and begin another day with another full schedule.

It seems strange to say it, but Jesus had a checklist too. In order to prove to people that He was truly the Son of God (the Messiah), He had to fulfill the prophecies that were made about His life and death that began as far back as the book of Genesis. Although there were still more prophecies to be fulfilled, Jesus’ list was getting shorter with every event He experienced. Jesus’ death was the perfect and final sacrifice necessary for forgiveness of sin, and even though Jesus spoke the words, “It is finished,” referring to His need to die, Jesus was not “finished.”  In fact, He was just entering the next phase of His work on our behalf.

Jesus’ death on the cross was the determining factor in our ability to have our sins pardoned, yet His work continued. He is eternal; therefore, His work is eternal. The resurrection of Jesus secured our hope of eternal life. That is why Jesus is our Living Savior. No other individual that people worship has been able to conquer death. Jesus Christ established His place as the One, True, and Living Son of God by conquering death and the grave.

The great news is that the perpetual work of Jesus is for us, His children. Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ has entered… into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Also, in Romans 8:34 we read, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Jesus is taking care of us by talking to God about and for us. Just as He was so personally involved in His disciples’ lives while He lived here on earth, we continue to be on His “to do” list while in Heaven. 

The Savior’s task of personal involvement with His children is multifaceted. Not only is He interceding for us to the Father, but Jesus also has told us of His work in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Jesus has a plan for us to be with Him eternally. Because of Jesus, “a forever home” is prepared for us when we leave this world behind.

Matthew 16:27 adds, “For the Son of Man [Jesus] is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Jesus is also making preparation for His glorious return to this earth. Then, as Romans 14:11 says, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Not one person on this earth will be able to deny who Jesus is.

Do you feel as if your list never ends? Are you stressed because you can never complete the tasks before you? Are you overwhelmed by the length or magnitude of that list? Take a moment and remember that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He died for you. He rose for you. However, He was not finished; His work for you did not end. Talk to Him; He is interceding! Praise Him; He is preparing! Hope in Him; He is coming!

“TETELESTAI”

Finished | Devotion #5: “TETELESTAI”
Kenny Hovis

A few years back, my wife got her first tattoo. It hurt so bad (on the top of her foot) that she said she would never get another. Well, now she has four and thinking of another. For a number of years, she has told me to get one. Although not against tattoos, I just could not think of something I wanted permanently put on my body that would not look ridiculous years from now. So I always told her I would think about it.

Late in the summer of 2014, I heard about the prison trips that our church was going on, and after praying about it, decided to go on one. It changed my life. I was taken out of my comfort zone socially and spiritually and launched into an environment that was raw and real. I had never witnessed broken people like that before. I had participated in jail ministry before, but this was completely different. There were men coming up to you asking if you would pray with them about their faith, family, health, safety, and their court case. I realized that the faith that had sustained me, and for the most part I had kept to myself, was exactly what these men were searching! So, I opened my mouth and trusted God. 

I quickly realized that I am an addict; I was addicted to seeing people coming to be self-aware of their need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I saw my life and faith change, just like the men’s lives with whom I was praying. They would transform right in front of my eyes. I brought those experiences home with me and could not shut up about it! The next year, I went on almost every prison trip. They could not keep me away. I did whatever the team needed so it was difficult for them to say I could not go. 

Realizing that tattoos are a big deal in prison, I actually started thinking of something to have tattooed on my forearm so that an inmate would look at it and ask what it meant. Secondly, it would appease my wife. I came across a picture of the Greek word, “TETELESTAI.” Greek is the language in which the New Testament was written, and “TETELESTAI” is written as the account of Jesus’ last words before dying for every person’s sins. John 19:30 says, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” “It is finished” is the most common translation, but more specifically translated “TETELESTAI” is an accounting term. When you had a debt that had been completely paid for, in Greek you would say “TETELESTAI,” or “paid in full.” I fell in love with the word.

Dying on the cross the way He did, Jesus paid the debt for me that I could not pay on my own. He did not make a down payment, partial payment, or an installment. It was completed, done, finished, and “paid in full!” Someone has to pay for your sin and mine. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Without Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross, we would have to pay the debt our sin creates with God. Jesus’ proclamation just before He died, paid the debt for everyone that accepts that payment in their place. It is not a loan; it is a gift! His death makes our debt, paid in full.

I made sure of the spelling, picked out a font and style, went to the tattoo artist my wife went to and had three crosses with the word “TETELESTAI” next to them tattooed on my forearm. Now, when an inmate or anyone on the street sees it and asks what it means, I am able to say, “It is a daily reminder that there was an extravagant price paid for me to be able to have a relationship with God and a place in His family. Can I tell you about it?”

I hope I never tire of telling people why I have a funny looking word tattooed on my arm. That funny looking word means everything to me!

Bloody Mess

Finished | Devotion #4: Bloody Mess
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

Close your eyes and imagine if you will, the altar in Solomon’s temple. It was made of bronze, twenty cubits by twenty cubits by ten cubits high. The altar was massive.  It was a place where the priest could offer the sacrifice for the people. From the voluntary sacrifices (burnt, grain, and peace) to the mandatory sacrifices (sin and trespass), the priests were busy atoning for the sins of the people. On this day, they were dedicating the temple to the Lord. Imagine now the smells, sights, and sounds of the day as Solomon offers a sacrifice. We read in 2 Chronicles 7:5, “King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.”

The sacrifice was so large that Solomon did not use the altar for the burnt, grain, or the fat of the peace offering, “And Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, for there he offered the burnt offering and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar Solomon had made could not hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat” (2 Chronicles 7:7). If your imagination works like mine, you will soon realize the enormity of what is taking place. There were thousands of people and animals moving to their destination. As a friend of mine said about the size of the sacrifice, “It was a bloody mess.” 

The Mosaic Law had strict rules that had to be followed. It ranged from the type of animal, grain, or wine that was to be used, to what part of the animal that was retained and what was burnt. In fact, the Mosaic Law contained 613 mitzvahs (commandments) in which they found atonement, worship, the sinfulness of man, and the holiness of God. Try as they may, the Hebrews could not overcome their condemnation through the law.

Fast forward almost a thousand years. As news of the Messiah reached the crowds in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin conspired against Jesus. It was the week of Passover. Riding in on a donkey as people put their cloaks and palm fronds at His feet, Jesus fulfilled the prophesy, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). 

As the next few days passed, the people who had praised Him would turn and despise Him. Cheerful hosannas quickly turned to shouts of “Crucify Him!” Utterly disillusioned, the crowd turned on their Messiah when they realized that He did not fit their idea of “The Savior.” 

Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Destined to be crucified, Jesus shared His last meal with those who had been with Him these past three years. As He retired to the Garden of Gethsemane with them, He prayed to the Father, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

These are just a few of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled. Through Old Testament prophecy, to the New Testament fulfillment, we see that Jesus was the unblemished lamb of God. Realizing we cannot save ourselves, Christ’s full atonement for our sins allows us to have a relationship with the Father. That happened through His absolute obedience to the Father’s will; He presents us sinless. “Tetelestai” (It Is Finished).

Torn Curtain

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!

Aslan

Finished | Devotion #2: Aslan
Isaiah Combs

John 19:30 records the last things Jesus said on the cross, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” It was finished, and He died for our sins. It is the greatest and most selfless thing ever done, and that will ever be done.

I believe we have some mixed up views about Jesus and the cross. The cross is super important, and I believe the physical pain that Jesus endured was incredible, and I pray God never asks me to experience it. 

However, I do not believe the physical pain of the cross is what Jesus was worried about in the Garden of Gethsemane where He was praying as sweat was dripping like blood from His face (Luke 22:44). Luke would have the authority to record this medical condition produced by great stress because he was a doctor (Luke would later become Paul’s doctor).

Jesus was indeed stressed, but I do not believe it was because He was scared of the pain. He was ready and willing to lay His earthly body down. However, there was a spiritual reason for His agony, blood, and sweat. 

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus knew God His Father would abandon Him. Jesus took on the sins of the whole world, so God could not even look at Him (Mathew 27:46). The Lamb without blemish or spot, the perfect sacrifice became the very thing that God hates, sin

(1 Peter 1:18-19). Because of the cross and Jesus’ willing sacrifice, we are free from that sin. We are bought and paid for with His blood.

There is a great book for kids written by C.S Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The movie is good as well. In the story, a boy named Edmund (a picture of us) gets caught in a trap set by the White Witch (a picture of Satan). The only way to free him from this bond of Satan was for King Aslan (a picture of Jesus) to lay his life down willingly to free Edmund. This is our story. We were caught in sin, and Jesus willingly died to free us from the bonds of sin. I recommend the movie for you and your family. It is a good way to start the conversation with your kids about what Jesus has done for them.

Because of the cross and Jesus’ willing sacrifice, we are free from that sin. We are bought and paid for with His blood. 

It truly was finished.



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