Because Jesus completed the work of our salvation, we can have peace.
Rolfe F. Westendorf
“It is finished” (John 19:30).
With that triumphant cry, Jesus declared the work of salvation complete. He had done everything necessary to pay for the sins of the world. All those sins, from the least to the greatest, had become his sins because “the LORD had laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6). And because his sins were paid for, he could enter his Father’s presence.
There is a world of comfort for us in those three words, “It is finished.” Because the work of salvation is finished, we don’t have to do anything to complete that work. Our good works contribute nothing to our salvation.
Rather our good works are the result of the faith that the Spirit has given us. We love others because Jesus loved us. We are helpful, considerate, kind, and gentle. But all we do cannot make us more holy, more worthy, than Jesus has already made us.
Now it is safe for us to die. Thanks to Jesus we are good enough for heaven! Jesus showed us that confidence when he commended his spirit into his heavenly Father’s hands. He also reminded the thief next to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
But, of course, Jesus was not speaking English when he said, “It is finished.” The message is conveyed to us through the Greek language of the New Testament. But Jesus was not speaking Greek either. The common language in Jesus’ time was a version of Hebrew called Aramaic.
How do you say, “It is finished,” in Aramaic? It is impossible to know with certainty the exact syllables that Jesus spoke. But a reasonable guess would be the word SHELIM. This is the passive form of the word SHALOM, which means “peace.” Roughly translated, SHELIM means “peace has been accomplished.” That adds another dimension of meaning to the words of Jesus, “It is finished.”
When a task remains unfinished, there is a certain tension that remains until the job is complete. One may work at the harvest and hurry to finish. But if the harvest is interrupted by a storm, the work remains even if delayed. Making dinner is not complete until the food is all on the table and the guests arrive. When the task is finished, there is relief from the tension, which is replaced by peace.
Jesus was under tension to complete the payment for our sins. When that job was finished, he had peace . . . and so do we. By finding peace for himself, Jesus found peace for us.
Yes, “it is finished!” SHELIM! We have eternal life with the Savior who won peace for us by finishing the task of our salvation.
It is finished, and we have peace! Amen!
Rolfe Westendorf, a retired pastor, is a member at Grace, Dalton, Wisconsin.
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Author: Rolfe F. Westendorf
Volume 104, Number 3
Issue: March 2017
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2017
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