The Greatest Word Ever Spoken

Title: The Greatest Word Ever Spoken

Bible Book: John 19 : 30

Author: Mike Stone

Subject: Cross; Words of Jesus



Think about some of the great statements made through history.

Reagan – Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.

Neil Armstrong – Once small step for man, one giant leap…

Founding Fathers – We hold these truths to be self-evident…

Nathan Hale – I regret that I only have 1 life to give for my country

Abraham Lincoln – Four score and seven years ago…

These statements freed individuals, races, and countries. But this statement by Christ brought freedom to all mankind. And He did it with a single word…TETELESTAI. The greatest person who ever lived! The God-Man…100% God and 100% man…sinless, etc. The greatest place ever known! All of human history intersects at this place called Calvary. The greatest provision ever made! Death is destroyed, the devil is defeated, and our doom is derailed.

G.K. Chesterton – “The cross cannot be defeated, for it is defeat.”

Jesus won the battle at Calvary. Not with a weapon and not with a war. He won the battle with a word…TETELESTAI.

I. The will of Sovereignty was fulfilled

Redemption was not an afterthought.

Redemption is the eternal plan and Sovereign will of God.

ILLUSTRATE: In 1999 we began meeting with architects.

Late 2000 an architect was hired and plans were drawn. (cont’d)

Construction officially began in March 2002.

We moved into the building in March 2004. But this building was the manifestation of a plan that began years earlier.

The general contractor could have said, “It is finished.”

Don’t get the idea that God was ringing His hands wondering how to bring about redemption…

John MacArthur – “The Father did not react to the fall with a last-minute fix, before the fall, even before the creation, He predetermined to send His Son as the Savior.”

Eph. 1:4 – “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.”

1 Peter 1:20-21 – “He (Christ) indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest  in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Revelation 13:8 – Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world

Revelation 17:8 says – Names have been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world

Joke: Little Presbyterian boy was saved at VBS at the SBC. He said he may have been saved before the foundation of the world but he just found out about it tonight!

Acts 2:23-24 – Christ was crucified and put to death by the predetermined purpose and foreknowledge of God.”

Acts 4:27-28 – The apostles pray to God- “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

2 Timothy 1:9-10 – “God has saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

When Christ appeared, it was merely a revelation and manifestation of the eternal plan of God’s redemption. Sometimes we say babies are born “prematurely.” Jesus was born right on time. “in the fullness of time.” Sometimes people die “before their time.” Jesus died like He lived…right on time, perfectly fulfilling the will of the Father. The other gospels tell us this was made “with a loud voice.”

It is finished! (NASB)

Leon Morris – “Jesus died with the cry of the Victor on his lips. This is not the moan of the defeated, nor the sigh of patient resignation. It is the triumphant recognition that He has now fully accomplished that work that He came to do.”

II. The work of sacrificing was finished (Hebrews 10:1-18)

I have a lot of unfinished projects around the house.

Mount Rushmore is an unfinished work. The original sculptor died while working on it. His son tried to complete it but ran out of money. It is unfinished.

Calvary is not an unfinished project.

“Tetelestai” comes from the Greek word “Teleo” which was used (in part) to refer to a job that was finished.

2 Timothy 4:7 – “I have finished my course…”

A. The servants’ work (Hebrews 10:1-4)

The priests were essentially divided into 3 broad categories, Levites, priests, and high priests.

On the day Jesus cleansed the temple more than 20,000 priests were registered and on duty.

Jesus put all the priests out of work.

Matthew 27:51 – The veil was torn in 2 from top to bottom

There is no more veil…no more holy of holies…

No more holy of holies…no more high priest…

No more high priest…no more sacrifices…

No more sacrifices because He said, “It is finished!”

Those who continue to go to an earthly priest have not fully embraced the good news of the cross.

B. The Savior’s work (Hebrews 10:10-13)

Notice, Jesus did not say, “I am finished” but “it is…”

John 4:34 – “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

John 17:4 – “I glorified You on the earth having (finished) the work You have given me to do.”

Christ is the only man who left no unfinished business.

No unmade visits, unwritten letters, or undone tasks.

No unread books, unmowed lawns, or unfinished diets.

Christ did not sit down because He was tired…through.

He was not depressed or defeated. He was done.

He was not frustrated, flustered, or fatigued…finished.

C. The saints’ work (Hebrews 10:14)

Little boy – What can I do to be saved?

Pastor – Nothing…it’s already been done!

Ephesians 2:8-9

To keep “striving” to try to earn salvation is to impugn the finished work of Christ on the cross.

III. The way of salvation was furnished

A. The place has been determined

One use of this word in ancient times referred to the relocation of the seat of government.

The cross is God’s statement to the world that if you will know Him you must know Him through Christ. And if you will know Christ you must know Him through the cross.

B. The price has been paid

Another use of this word was as an accounting term.

Don’t get the idea that we were in bondage to the devil.

Our enemy was God.

Cyrus, king of Persia captured an opposing king and his family. He asked, “What will you give if I release you?”

Answer, “Half of my kingdom.”

He asked, “What will you give if I release your children?”

Answer, “All of my kingdom.”

As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man?" She replied, "I didn't notice. I could only keep my eyes upon you, the one who was willing to give himself to purchase my freedom!"

C. The prisoner has been freed

A third use of this word would occur when a prisoner was released from jail. The word TETELESTAI would be written across the release papers.

Colossians 2:14 – “Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us, and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Into a world enslaved by sin…trapped in chains of bondage, Christ has served our penalty, suffered our punishment, and sealed our pardon.

Closing illustration

In 1815 the Duke of Wellington set sail for Waterloo to lead the allied Anglican army against General Napoleon Bonaparte.

All of Europe held its collective breath waiting for weeks to hear word about the outcome of the battle.

One foggy morning, the British ships appeared on the horizon off the coast of England. The signalman began sending signals to the shore.



At that point a deep and dark fog rolled in as hearts sank across the British mainland…Wellington defeated.

As the fog lifted, the signalman continued. N-A-P-O-L-E-O-N.

Wellington defeated Napoleon.

What a difference one word can make!


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