Flash

"TETELESTAI" 07/25/11

TETELESTAI: JESUS’ LAST WORD ON THE CROSS IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

 

 

The late great baseball player Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back something might be gaining on you.”  Because we are human beings and our minds and hearts are powerful tools for Jesus or the enemy, still concupiscent in spite of grace and anointing as the Church teaches, sometimes following Mr. Paige’s advice is hard to do.  What that means is this:

 

I have experienced metanoia and entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the surrender of the self.  Today I do walk in the Father’s vineyard in the power of the Holy Spirit and today I know a lot about Jesus, I know a lot about the Word, I know a lot about what the Church teaches.  I am anointed in the sacrament of Reconciliation and I receive the Body and Blood weekly if not more often. My greatest desire is to serve him in the manner of his choosing, not mine.  I seek his will through a life, as we teach at the Sower/ESNE of prayer, Word, Sacrament, and service. Jesus first Jesus always is our metanoia creed.

 

However with all this Truth, Spirit, and knowledge that I am graced with, too often I have found myself drawn to “looking back” to the bad things of the past, my failures, sins, other peoples unwanted slander and criticism, and allowing these thoughts to come into my mind and try to change my heart and present moment in a way that God has not intended.  I know these moments are a combination of personal weakness and spiritual attacks from the enemy as St. Paul explained to the Galatians who were being enticed to believe a different Gospel, “That enticement does not come from the one who called you.”  Galatians 5:8.

 

The one who called me/you is the One we follow, Jesus, and the enemy is always attempting to take the peace of mind and heart that we receive from Jesus in faith from us through a barrage of lies, hate, and tempting us to recall the failures and sins of our past.  Remember what we taught in a past reflection, when these temptations/past bad memories come to mind, CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS, Jesus has the victory today, tomorrow, and forever.

 

Yes, no matter how hard satan tries, he can never have the victory over our minds and heart if we stay on the vine and in the vineyard through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Know this also, the enemy is a master tactician and always changing tactics so as to take us down and entice us to sin.  Knowledge of this truth is power, spiritual power.  Jesus is God, God knows these things and shares his knowledge with his mathetes so as to protect us through his Blood and his gift of wisdom, “Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to resist the tactics of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-11.

 

Jesus is always, yes literally in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and Church, always, guiding, teaching, and sanctifying his mathetes, and revealing to them the power of his Word and victory on the cross so they can stand firm, in him, against the tactics of the defeated enemy.  My experience is that the more that I read, pray, and study the Word, the more wisdom and power I receive from the Holy Spirit to be able to resist the tactics of the enemy, for me, this happens exactly as St. Paul and now God’s own Word says it does for all men and women of faith, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”  Ephesians 6:17.  The enemy cowers when I am in the Word because in the Word, the sword of the Spirit is cutting though all his lies and hate and all his new tactics against me/us are being exposed.  Yes, when you and I are in the Word, Jesus is personally equipping us for battle and revealing new and amazing spiritual truths and weapons from his Word.  Amen to his Blood, Spirit, and Word.

 

Today, I want to share with you another powerful way of calling on the name of Jesus so as to draw our strength from him and fight the fool when he attempts to take our minds and hearts away from Jesus by dwelling on the wrong things of the past. Let’s begin to receive the protection of the Blood, the victory of the cross, and the power of the sword of the Spirit by reflecting on an important Greek word, tetelestai, because this is a word that in the Gospel of John, Jesus himself uses on the cross.

 

Begin by doing this: call to mind the blessings of your past, something that happened months or years ago, which you are still being blessed by today?  What I want you to find and acknowledge is something in your past, the effects of which is still being lived and appreciated by you to this very day, this reality is a key for us to understand the meaning of Jesus’ tetelestai to his Father.

Things in our past that can continue to be a blessing in our present are so personal and varied: your wedding day, first communion, the birth of a child, wisdom from a parent, metanoia, a priest, an I am sorry, something you read, a song, a gift, getting a certain job, the meeting of a lifelong friend, a thank you, encouragement, an artist, a teacher, a bible verse, a prayer answered.

 

The truth is we all have many such blessing in our past and they are just as available to our minds and hearts as the bad ones and we should chose to avail ourselves of them because when brought to mind they bring peace, smiles, encouragement, comfort, joy, hope, and a present moment with the Holy Spirit as opposed to an attack on our minds, emotions, heart, and spirit by the evil one.

 

For example, there is an event in my past, which still effects me today, because the event often comes to my mind, in a good way, even though the event itself was horrific, especially for the family involve.  Growing up, in a large family, five sisters and a brother, I also had many, many cousins.  One of my cousins was Jack daCosta.  Jack was the kind of guy everybody wanted to be around.  He was always smiling, handsome, strong, and not the kind of guy who trash talked other people.

 

We were about the same age, and our families dairy farms were within biking distance from each other, so I was over at the daCostas quite often, especially during the summers.  When Jack turned sixteen, he got a set of wheels, a 1965 Camaro, a sweet ride with some nice Cragers on it.  On his way back to the dairy from town one evening, there was some road work being done, and Jack, not noticing it right away, swerved to the left to avoid it and his car went colliding into a cement encased drainage ditch.  The accident caused severe trauma, his leg was cut off below the knee cap and combined with other sever injuries, Jack died that night.  As you can imagine, his mother and father, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives were all shocked and traumatized by his death.

 

The fact that I am writing about Jack’s death today, is a testimony as to how I have kept that moment with me all my life.  I went to Jacks funeral, cried, felt horrible for his mom and dad and brothers and sister, went to the cemetery and watched as they buried him, but I never lost Jack, even when I was walking in the wrong vineyard, I had him in mind, in good way, I always believed that he was in heaven interceding for me, just like my mother on earth, Doleen, and my mother in heaven the Virgin Mary were.  No, I never lost sight of Jack daCosta, even though I have not seen him in over forty years, in death, the experience of his life and spirit, are still present to me.

 

The reason I want you to find something in your past, an event that still effects you today, in the right way, in a good way, is because through this word tetelestai, I want to share with you something absolutely amazing and brilliant about the Greek language, as used in the New Testament, which reflects upon our faith in Jesus Christ.  You see, in the Greek culture, they knew of this type of experience, where something from the past could find it’s effects in the future, like Jack daCostas death and life still being a part of my life today.

 

The Greeks identified this state of the past being present and put it to use in their language, in what is called the “perfect” tense, the English language has no exact parallel for the Greek.  Here is our working definition of the perfect tense, “The Greek perfect, describes an action that was brought to completion and whose effects are felt in the present.”  Basics of Biblical Greek, William D. Mounce, p.  225.

 

Now with that in mind, check this out!!  As was mentioned earlier, the vast majority of biblical scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark, was the first gospel written, around 70 A. D.  This being true, the first Words of Jesus recorded in gospels would have been the words that we have based our walk in the vineyard upon, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Metanoia (repent) and believe in the Gospel.”  Mark 1:15.  From that moment on, Jesus embarks on a mission of miracles, mercy, and salvation which leads him directly to the cross.

 

The vast majority of biblical scholars also believe that the last gospel written was the gospel of John, between 90 and 100 A.D.  So if Mark records the first written biblical words of Jesus, John records the last, and Jesus’ last words in the gospel of John, are spoken on the cross, where Jesus says, “It is finished.” John 19:30.

 

“It is finished,” is the English translation of the Greek word, tetelestai, which as you probably guessed was written in the “perfect” tense, meaning, Jesus was telling his Father, his mathetes, the world, and today you and I, that everything the Father sent him to do, everything the Father asked him to do, he has accomplished, he has completed, he has finished.  Yes, every sin  from every human being ever born, has been accounted for, the Kingdom of Heaven is once again open to God’s family of faith, and from this moment on Jesus’ Blood, Death, Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, will effect all the world and every human being, past, present, and future, forever.

 

Yes, Jesus’ cry of “tetelestai,” reveals and proclaims that the Blood of the Lamb and the sending of the Holy Spirit, has now restored humanity back to the glory we had before the fall of Adam and Eve, the Kingdom of heaven is now open for the righteous to partake of, and most importantly, for what we are learning today, Jesus is saying, “the effects of my Blood, Death, and Resurrection, will ALWAYS be present in the world.

 

Yes, Jesus’ tetelestai means that his Blood and Spirit will be effective, cleansing, salvific, always and everywhere, FOREVER.  Amen to the Blood, Alleluia to the Spirit.  JFJA. Begin to draw your mind to Jesus on the Cross, and how his suffering, death, and sending of the Spirit would effect all generations: past, present, and future, forever.  This is a powerful thought and mediation.

 

Do you see the power of tetelestaiTetelestai reinforces everything we have been learning about Jesus’ presence in his name, in his disciples being temples of the Holy Spirit, in Sacrament, especially the true presence of the Resurrected I AM Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.  Jesus, on the cross is saying, “Yes, on the cross my body is broken and beaten by my spirit is alive and in my Father’s hands, I am dying on the cross for your sins, but death and satan do not have the final word, I do.

I am the Word, I have the victory, I have the final say, and I say to you that in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit I will always be present to you.”

 

Mathetes believe, understand, and participate in this truth of Jesus’ tetelestai on the cross.  Yes, as mathetes, who praise and worship Jesus Christ in all circumstances of life, our understanding of this is important.  From the moment of Jesus’ tetelestai and sending of the Spirit on, all blessing, all miracles, all rescue, all sanctification is tied to, empowered by and effected by that moment.  All of them.

 

Because of his tetelestai you are forever blessed in your walk with the Holy Spirit in the Father’s vineyard and we want to use the power of this Word to always remind ourselves of our countless blessings as opposed to having the enemy remind us of our many failures, so we can say “thank you Jesus,” so we can glorify him and praise his holy name in ways we were not able to before because we were unaware of his presence in our lives.

 

This means that as we bring to mind the blessings of a child, a job prayed for, a family member saved from a lifetime of addiction to alcohol through metanoia and a new life of love in the Spirit and service to Jesus and his Church, we are acknowledging that these are not accidents nor coincidences but Jesus directly participating in our lives through faith and Spirit.  For example, I cannot bring back a fond memory of Jack daCosta separate from that of Jesus Christ.  Without Jesus in Jack’s life and now in my life, there would be no fond memory.

 

Do you see the point?  All our tetelestai moments are based and predicated upon the one perfect act of obedience and love of Jesus Christ on the cross, summed up in his final word in the Gospel of John, tetelestai.  When we bring back the good things the blessings of the past, we are also acknowledging Jesus’ salvific act of dying for our sins, we are acknowledging that Jesus is in our lives, past and present, and as we make Jesus present he is blessing our minds and spirit with his joy and peace, a joy and peace he died to give us.

 

Without tetelestai, without Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and our being rescued from sin by his precious Blood, we would have no reason for rejoicing in the blessing of our past and present because we would still be in our sins, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain, you are still in your sins.”  1 Corinthians 15:17.  But as St. Paul confirms to the Corinthians Jesus did rise from the dead, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Corinthians 15:20.

 

This is the victory of the cross.  This is the power of the Resurrection and sending of the Spirit.  St. Paul understood the truth of tetelestai, in fact he lived and breathed and preached it, “Behold, I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet….then the word that is written shall come about: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.  Where O death is your victory? Where O death, is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:51-55.

 

Death has no victory, Jesus does and so do all the faithful sanctified by his Blood and Spirit, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:56.   Death has lost its sting, because Jesus has died for our sins, and offers us as mathetes the victory of a life in the Spirit followed by the promise of an eternal life in his Father’s kingdom, “And this is the promise he made to us: eternal life.”  1 John 2:25.

 

The effects of Jesus’ Blood and resurrection are permanently present, effective, and available, to the entire world in the presence of his majestic Catholic Church.  “When the work which the Father gave the son to do on earth was accomplished,  (my notes…tetelestai) the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church, and that consequently, those who believe might have access through Christ in one Spirit to the Father.”  Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, #4.

 

Yes from the day of tetelestai and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, salvation in the name of Jesus Christ has been and always will be offered to the world as Jesus’ perfect and completed gift to his Father, as we read in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer to his Father, “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work you gave me to do.”  John 17:4.  “It is finished.”  This is glorious.

 

Dwell on Jesus’ victory on the cross.  Seriously dwell on this truth.  Rejoice that you believe in Jesus’ victory on the cross. Meditate on how Jesus said to his Father that he knows his Mission of the redemption of the human race has been completed and that the effects of his life, death, and resurrection, will always be present and effective in this world.  As you walk in the vineyard today, become aware of how Jesus’ tetelestai is present, effective, and visible to you.

 

When the enemy changes tactics and tries to bring you back to the old you the selfish you, the greedy you, the slanderous you, recall your metanoia and who you are today, and how right it feels to be who you are today as opposed to who you were before you totally surrendered your self to Jesus. The enemy hates these thoughts, and that’s why we need to have them, because as the bible says, “For the flesh has desires against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.”  Galatians 5:17.

 

A person in the flesh is a person living with the spirit of death, satan’s spirit and that life is always opposed to a life in the Holy Spirit, as the Word reveals.  So everything the enemy is opposed to, everything the enemy hates, is what you and I are for.  In the Holy Spirit, we are opposite in mind, heart, and Spirit, and one way we are opposed to him and spiritually attack and battle him is by recalling our blessings, our tetelestai moments that bring Jesus to our present and glorify his cross, Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit.

 

So mathetes, when you are attacked with the past, attack back with tetelestai, bring back the blessings because by recalling them and you make the One who is the font of all blessings present, and when Jesus is present there is POWER.  Yes, seek Jesus’ tetelestai in your daily life, and as the Holy Spirit to reveal this truth to you, share your blessings in testimony with others.  This is God’s plan.  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb.

 

 

SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES

 

  1. Name your tetelestai moment or moments.   Unite them to Jesus’ tetelestai on the cross.  Thank Jesus for his cross, presence, and blessings.
  2. Every time we bring Jesus to someone in need, we manifest his tetelestai on the cross.  Name some of your victories.
  3. There are also victories in our sufferings, unite your sufferings to those of Jesus on the cross at the moment he said tetelestai.
  4. If you are afraid to die, begin to lose that fear in St. Paul’s powerful testimony, yes Jesus invites you to share in his victory, “Life is Christ, and death is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

 

 

JFJA

 

Grace and peace,

 

Joseph