Good Friday (Jn 19:1–42)

March 25, 2016
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


It’s a solemn day. The day we remember when God died. The only day the Church chooses to decorate herself with black. But it’s a good day. The day of your salvation. It can even be a happy day! It’s called Good Friday after all. It’s the day when you’re given to know God perfectly. How can you not know Him perfectly after today? He’s shown you His very heart today. The day we remember His heart being pierced for you. You know God perfectly with your ears today. One little Word does it. That’s right: one Word. One little Greek Word: τετέλεσται. We’re given to meditate on that one little Greek Word this Good Friday. τετέλεσται (tetelestai) is your God to a T.


(I. All of Salvation is summed up in that Word.)

If you could distill Scripture down to one Word, this would be it. τετέλεσται (tetelestai). It is finished. What else can be done? All that God set out to do He accomplished. He sent His Son to die for us, as promised. The Savior came and bore your sins and sorrows. He was condemned. He was forsaken by His Father as the once for all sinner; all sins rested on Him. There’s nothing left to do, is there? Nope. All the sentencing was done. All the mocking, beating, flogging, crucifying was completed. His clothes were divided, except the tunic, as was prophesied. He thirsted. “All was now finished.” Well, He still needed to die. So He said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. God dying means there’s nothing left! What can trump that? God’s death is like the Queen of Spades in Schafkopf. It’s the exclamation point. Jesus shows He is Lord of all by dying. “He bowed his head” and then “gave up his spirit.” That is, “He did not, when He had died, bow His head, as happens with us, but when He had bent His head, then He died. By these the Evangelist shows that He was Lord of all.” Since Jesus is eternal God Himself, His death is the exclamation point on salvation. A one word exclamation: τετέλεσται (tetelestai)—it is finished!

(II. There’s nothing more to know or receive outside of this Word.)

There’s nothing else to know outside of the man who speaks this Word for you. He is “the Man,” as Pilate said. He’s the God-man. God Himself. There is no other God besides Him. He doesn’t say much during His trial. He doesn’t speak much during His crucifixion, but what your God Jesus says in this one Word is salvific. There you know Him perfectly. You hear Him perfectly. There’s nothing more to receive outside of this Word, and you do receive it. “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” You receive Jesus’ IT IS FINISHED from the water and the blood, as John says in his first epistle: “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” The Water of Baptism testifies: τετέλεσται (tetelestai), it is finished. All Jesus’ work washing you with His death, giving you the Spirit, making you a child of the heavenly Father. The body and blood of Jesus in the Supper testify that He’s done it all. His Word does it all. We receive. Body and blood for your forgiveness. Jesus gives. We receive. “Amen.” Gift received! As we heard last night.

τετέλεσται (tetelestai). One little Greek Word. But in that Word is everything—everything for your salvation. God came for you. He died for you. It’s all finished now. Jesus did it all. Jesus your God delivers it to you. “Blood” came out from His side; it flows into the chalice. “Water” came out; it flows into the font. Here you know God perfectly. You hear Him speak: “It is finished!” τετέλεσται (tetelestai). In that little Word you know Him to a T. You know what to expect and receive from Him: SALVATION. This is Good Friday. A day you know God perfectly. Hear Jesus say it again and know Him perfectly: “It is finished!” Everything is done, well…until three days later.


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