How many people like me have read through the account of Jesus’ final days and hours thinking that the pinnacle of it all was the empty tomb, the resurrection?
To my surprise, it wasn’t.
The climax of the salvation story sits at the moment where Jesus uses His last breath to utter one last phrase. It is finished. Noah Webster said the word finished meant that something was polished to the highest degree of excellence. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance gives several definitions that at face value seem to be at odds with one another:
Kalah (Hb. 3615): to be complete, at an end, finished, accomplished, or spent
Kaleh (Hb 3616): a failing
Kalah (Hb 3617): completion, complete destruction, consumption, annihilation
Kallah (Hb 3618): daughter-in-law, brideStrong’s Exhaustive Concordance
To see each of these definitions together might cause some confusion until we start to put them in the context of the entire story of our redemption.
In a cursory reading, we can see the first definition (3615) without issue. Jesus said, “It is finished,” so it’s done. Whatever it is that He was hoping to accomplish was accomplished.
We can get stuck on that second one (3616). How does failing come into play while Jesus is on the cross? If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to earth to make a way for humanity to return to a communion with the Father then of course we don’t want to consider the possibility of failure. But I don’t believe it was Jesus’ failure this term would allude to.
If the pinnacle of redemption took place as Jesus exhaled that last breath, then Satan had already failed. Though Jesus’ body would lay dead, there was nothing the devil could do after that moment that could turn the tide in his favour again. Ever. He failed. Wholly and utterly.
This leads us to our next term (3617) of annihilation. When it comes to the devil, darkness, sin, this is a great word to have in your repertoire.
ANNIHILATION: The act of reducing to nothing or non-existence; or the act of destroying the form or combination of parts under which a thing exists, so that the name can no longer be applied to it, as the annihilation of a corporation.Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
This is a good word. And it’s a good word to think about in reference to Jesus being finished. Satan has no power. Death and fear are only shadows. As Jon Foreman once wrote, the shadow proves the sunshine. Light exists. It’s a substance. It has cause and effect. Darkness is nothing. It can do nothing.
The last term (3618) might be the most important.
The Passion Translation actually includes the bridal term in the scripture and it adds a completion to Jesus’ phrase that other translations miss out on. Jesus’ work was finished on the cross (not the resurrection). Satan failed. Sin and darkness and death were annihilated. All of this was so that the bride, the Church, could find a way back into communion with the Father.
Jesus’ death wasn’t as a runner breaking through the tape at the end of a marathon. His completion was once and for all. Nothing more was or is necessary. He doesn’t need to run another race.
The next time fear or darkness try to overtake you, remember Jesus’ words. It. Is. Finished. The fight isn’t ours. It was His. And He won. It’s not a continued battle. It’s over. Done. Complete.
It is finished.