Back when reporters wrote stories in long-hand (yes, I did a few that way) or typed them and handed the pages to a typesetter, we ended our stories with -30- to let the typesetter know the story was finished for that edition of the paper.
We sometimes include -30- as a nostalgic nod at the end of an obituary for a journalist, or at the end of a farewell column from a journalist, to signal the end of their story or that it’s their last column. The end of their story.
I think about the -30- as I’ve been reading Holy Week devotions.
We’re human, and there have been many times in my life where I’ve thought I was done with something — sometimes a story, or a task, or a feeling even — only to realize I wasn’t finished at all. My effort wasn’t quite enough, and more work needed to be done.
Other times, I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and declared, “That’s it, I’m done!” Often, that declaration had nothing to with accomplishment, and more to do with frustration.
Last week I was thinking about Good Friday and the words of Jesus on the cross reported in the book of John, chapter 19, verse 30: “It is finished.”
Three power-packed words.
I read them in the New King James Version of the Bible, an updated version of the King James translation commissioned in the early 1600s.
I’m no scholar on languages, but I know Jesus probably didn’t speak English.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but the New Testament was written down first in Greek. In my reading on the words “It is finished,” I learned the sentence means a lot more in the Greek word “tetelestai.”
I’ve read that the word, in business Greek, was a receipt. Paid in full. Debt fulfilled. Nothing left undone, nothing else required.
Those three words, “It is finished!” were uttered more than 2,000 years ago, fulfilling God’s promise then and into the future. Every promise is good because Jesus is the receipt!
When He said “It is finished,” He wasn’t saying “I’m done!”
He was saying to me and you — before we were ever born — that God’s promise is fulfilled for us.
All we have to do confess Him as our Savior and have faith in that promise. Because it endures and is as relevant today as ever!
...And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat
‘Cause Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
— Elvina Hall, 1865
Email Andrea Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org