The Amen Corner: TETELESTAI

Tetelestai–The word comes from the Greek root “TELEOS”, meaning, to make an end, a consummation; to fully accomplish; to bring to its ultimate conclusion. More than that it is a Perfect Passive Verb.

As a child, I can remember reading the “Horoscopes” in the Albany Herald. Each day, the horoscope featured a section called, “You Born Today”. If your birthdate and the date of the paper coincided, the “You Born Today” section would reveal your personality based on your Astrological sign—my sign is Gemini.

Among other things—some with a ring of truth, some not so much—my reading indicated that I possessed a “Lack of stick-to-itiveness”. As a matter of fact, in 1979–my Senior year in high school—I cut out that section of the June 9th edition of the “Herald” and pasted it into my “Memory Book.

So, the term “stick-to-itiveness” means-“the ability to keep doing something, even if it is sometimes boring” (Webster). Of course the LACK of this ability suggests that the opposite is true. I didn’t think much about whether or not that term applied to me in 1979, but in retrospect—it sure Lordt did AND does!

Jesus did not lack any “stick-to-itiveness”. Whatever he said he would do, he stuck to it. His word was and is “bond” and he’s STILL doing it! He has always followed through on his tasks til the end; bitter or sweet!

I can imagine Jesus as the carpenter’s son; watching his father work on a carpentry project— maybe, building a cart or table. Maybe Jesus assisted his father in the labor. I can see him—upon completion of the project—taking a cool sip of water and sighing a satisfied “Tetelestai!”. IT IS FINISHED.

Whenever those words were spoken, it meant that, whatever the task, there was no more to be done; nothing added or taken away; no adjustments; no screws to tighten.

As Porky Pig used to say, “Th-th-that’s all folks!”

How are you at completing projects?

In Jesus’ time, Tetelesthai was used by servants to indicate that whatever tasks had been assigned by the master had been fully and correctly done. In order to keep your master happy, you wanted to be able to go to him and say Tetelesthai.

The word was also a commercial term meaning “Paid in full.” If you have a mortgage or car note, you are happy when the receipt is finally stamped “Paid in Full.”

Two slightly different contexts but both applicable for Jesus’ situation. God is his Master and the price he paid belonged to humanity.

Isn’t it interesting how much praise Tyler Perry and Bill Gates got for paying off someone else’s bill?

So, Jesus was whipped until his flesh lay open to the “white meat”.

He was spit upon and ridiculed.

He was made to carry his instrument of death up Calvary Hill.

They nailed his hands and feet to the beams.

He cried out to God, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, for what have you forsaken me?”

He drank some sour wine then uttered the phrase, Tetelestai!

Then, the celebration began.

(1.) The sun hid itself

(2.) The land shook

(3.) Tombs opened, some temporary resurrections…

(4.) The Centurion and onlookers, shouted, surely this was the Son of God

(5.) People “beat their breasts” as they were leaving….


He dragged the heavy beam up the hillside

Mary and friends stood nearby and cried

His wrists were tied. His arms stretched wide

Hammer strikes driving the spikes inside

A crown of thorns place above his eyes

They jeered as his cross was raised up high

The one whom they speared in his side

The one who hung his head and cried

“Tetelestai , then bowed his head and died

He was buried but the stone was rolled aside.

When they looked, he was no longer inside.

He’d risen and for awhile did abide.

But soon he ascended unto his throne on high.

So that we can live and never die. Tetelestai.

By R. Brown