Pella Chronicle

October 18, 2013

What does the cross mean to you? (Part II)

By Rick Cowman
The Chronicle

Pella —

This week we continue looking afresh at the cross and what it means to us. Hopefully, as we continue considering this event, we won’t soon forget what happened there!   We’re going to take a closer look at one of the declarations of truth Jesus made from that cross on that hill far away in Jerusalem.  This statement was actually one word in the original language, "tetelestai", which is interpreted to mean, "It is finished!"  It was a single word, but had multiple meanings, depending on who the listener was. Now, let’s re-discover what happened at the cross through the understanding of those who were there.
Those who were servants, or slaves, would have understood this statement to mean, "THE WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED!"  When a servant had completed a job for their master, they would come to him and say, "The work you’ve given me to do is completed, tetalestai!" Jesus modeled the suffering servant for us. He came to serve us through His life and ultimately through His death on the cross!  In John 17, Jesus was going before His Father only hours before He was to die and He prayed, "(Father) I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do (vs 4, NIV)!"  Therefore, everything Jesus needed to do, everything that was necessary for our salvation, was completed on the cross!
Those who were sculptors or artists understood this statement to mean, "THE MASTERPIECE IS FINSHED!"  When an artist or sculptor was done with his work, he would step back, and looking at the work, declare, "The painting is done, tetelestai!  The masterpiece is completed!"  Jesus’ coming to earth and dying on a cross "finished" the pictures of Old Testament symbolism, rituals, and prophesies!  Listen to these verses. From Hebrews:  "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers and the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…(chap. 1, vs 1-2)" "For the Law…(is only) a shadow of the good things to come…(chap. 10, vs 1)" And speaking of the Old Testament rituals, Paul said, "These are a shadow of the things to come;  the reality, however, is found in Christ (Colossians 2:17)!"   Jesus said of Himself, "Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures, either God’s Law or the Prophets.  I’m not here to demolish, but to complete.  I am going to put it all together...in a vast panorama (Matt. 5:17, MSG)!"
In Luke 24, we read the account how after the resurrection of Christ, Jesus was walking along with two of His followers on the road to Emmaus.  As they walked, Jesus began explaining the Old Testament Scriptures from Moses to Himself, and showed them how He had completed the picture of God’s plan! You see, God painted a magnificent picture for us through every page of the Old Testament.  In fact, it’s a self-portrait of Jesus and a blueprint of the plans He has for us if we’ll follow Him!  Get this.  Jesus came to make each of us into a masterpiece!  Ephesians 2, verse 10, tells us, "We are God’s workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!"
Next week, more about what the cross means to you and me!