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Some thoughts on John 19:30

August 11th, 2008 1 comment

This is a paper that I wrote for one of my classes. It looks at John 19:23-30, but I focus on 19:30. Enjoy… or something. ;)

John 19:23-30

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.



    Here at the climax of John, Jesus proclaims his ministry and life fulfilled and offers his spirit back up to God. The author uses the final verse (30) of the crucifixion story to show Jesus as a victor; one who has fully completed his mission and is about to do what he promised he would: conquer death. Matthew (27:50) and Mark (15:37) both note that Jesus’ final words, “It is finished,” were loudly cried out; they were not a sigh of defeat, but a victory roar. This paper will focus on verse 30: its meaning and implications.




    While there are no textual variants of note in verse 30, the meaning and wording of that verse are of particular interest to the pericope and the gospel at large. There are two important phrases in the verse that warrant further examination: “it is finished” and “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” The first phrase is a single Greek word, Τετέλεσται (tetelestai), and is in the perfect tense, a tense that loses meaning when it is translated into the English. This nuance will be discussed in the final section. The second phrase also warrants particular discussion in the interpretation section as the phrase is unique in terms of describing death; all four gospels provide a different-than-standard outlook of Jesus’ death on the cross.

    Historians place the authorship of this text by John (a disciple of Jesus) sometime around 90 CE. For this paper, the exact date is not crucial so not argued. The occasion for this book (most likely the last of the four Gospels and not one of the synoptic) is linked to its literary style: the Greek biography, or bioi (βιοι). A bioi is a modified biography (in its modern understanding); it does not intend to provide a full or complete picture of the person of Jesus, but a particular and specific picture that is intended to carry a particular message. Different from much of the narrative styles used in the Bible, the bioi was focused on the life and character of Jesus. John, in particular, focused on the messianic aspects of Jesus and the theological nature of his message. The bioi is also different from much of the epistles that appear in the New Testament that often serve as corrective measures, encouragement, and theological or doctrinal imperatives to specific churches, people, or groups.


Interpretation and Integration

    This section of John focuses on the death of Jesus and his last words. In keeping the theme of Jesus’ messianic and theological nature, John includes one such fulfillment of prophesy right at the end of Jesus’ time on the cross (v. 24). The soldiers keeping watch over the crucifixion were Roman guards sent to carry out Pilate’s orders. Pilate would only have agreed to the death sentence because of the claims of authority made by Jesus (especially seen throughout Mark and John’s gospels).

    After the note of prophesy fulfillment, John turns to the three Marys and “the disciple who He loved” (John himself). Two of these ladies, Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalene, and John are three important people in his life who felt compelled to be there at the end of his life. They knew that Jesus was going on to something better (but even what that was was still not exactly understood). Jesus, recognizing that death was imminent, asked for liquid for his parched mouth and proclaimed his final word: Τετέλεσται – it is finished. After his mission was completed, he offered up his spirit. The story doesn’t end there as the remainder of John (and the other gospels) discusses; Jesus rises from the dead and eventually ascends to the right hand of God.

    Scholars all seem to agree that the “it is finished” statement does not just apply to the physical life that was fleeting but to the larger ministry that Jesus had been working on. “The rendering, ‘It is finished!’ conveys only half the meaning. For the verb τελέω fundamentally denotes ‘to carry out’ the will of somebody, whether of oneself or another, and so to fulfill obligations or carry out religious acts. ‘It is accomplished!’ renders that aspect of the word” (Beasley-Murray 1999). Other arguments have also been made about the implications the verb tense has for Christians today that will be discussed in the next section. As indicated by the parallel passages in Mark and Luke (27:50 and 15:37 respectively), Jesus’ proclamation was not a defeated whimper, but a cry out. “Jesus died with the cry of the Victor on his lips. This is not the moan of the defeated, nor the sigh of a patient resignation. It is the triumphant recognition that he was now fully accomplished the work that he came to do” (Morris 1995). Through Jesus’ death he had completed all the Father had charged him with; the redemption of Man could only come through this final act of selflessness and willingness to become the slain lamb.

    Jesus’ final release from life is also described differently than other deaths throughout the Bible; it is something distinctly different. “John does not say that Jesus died and then his head slumped over, but rather that he bowed his head, an attitude of submission, and then gave over (paraedoken) his spirit” (Whitacre 1999). Each gospel portrays his death as different from any other death. John makes special note of the act of will. Tertullian (a 2nd century Christian) noted in his Apology that, “Nailed upon the cross, he exhibited many notable signs by which is death was distinguished from all others. By his own free will, he dismissed from him his spirit with a word, anticipating the executioner’s work” (Elowsky 2007). “There does seem to be an element of voluntariness that is not found in the case of others” (Morris 1988). Jesus’ claims to authority are evidence here in his ability to offer back his spirit in a way that no other human can. His divine nature and the completion of his work here allowed him to fully return to be with God. His act of will signified something that no mortal is truly capable of: choosing when to let go.

    This passage is the climax for John. Everything that came before this was leading up to it. The events and proclamations of Jesus would inevitably lead him to the cross; humanity was in need of redemption. Everything after this point looks back to this very moment. The ministry and churches that follow are focused around the act of completion and selflessness on the cross. In this way the Gospels, especially John more theological focused version, are the climax to the entire Biblical narrative. The story of the Old Testament is the story of humanity and relationship, even conflict, with God. The fallen nature of man pointed to the need for a messiah, someone who would bring redemption from that which sin deserves. The climax comes in Jesus, his ministry and dual nature. At the cross he completes all that came before him and paved the way for all that is to come. The resolution of the story is painted in the remainder of the New Testament; Christians are called to bring people into the fold and climax of the story. We currently live in the resolution of John 19:30.



    The importance of John 19:30 comes in how we respond to it. It seems consistent with ancient Christian writers that Jesus’ final cry was firstly, not a cry of defeat, and secondly, not only concerning the end of his life. Eusebius, a 3rd century church historian, said it very poetically: “He did not wait for death, which was lagging behind as it were in fear to come to him. Instead, he pursed it from behind and drove it on and trampled it under his feet as it was fleeting. He burst the eternal gates of death’s dark realms and made a road of return back again to life for the dead bound there with the bonds of death” (Elowsky 2007). The flat reading of this passage that Jesus was merely welcoming his death was never intended by John. John being the theologian he was, included that as a part of verse 30, but as historians and theologians have kept with the tradition that Jesus was speaking to something more than his impending ceasing life. Saint Augustine writing in the 5th century comments that “The spirit of the Mediator has shown how it was not any punishment for sin that brought about the death of his flesh because he did not abandon it unwillingly. Rather, the spirit left because he willed it to, and it left at the time in the manner that he wanted it to leave. For since he is so commingled with the flesh by the Word of God as to be one with it…” (Elowsky 2007). It is clear that we should take Jesus’ final word and act with more than a surface understanding.

    The more complex reading of this passage can also bring modern day readers into its implications. The use of the Greek perfect tense implies that there is more than a
“past completion” reading of Τετέλεσται. The perfect tense describes an act that has been completed in the past but continues to effect the present. Jesus saying that his ministry has been accomplished is true, but it not only true for the past but it is being accomplished currently. “And as [Jesus] on the cross, having lived a sinless life, having paid the penalty for your sins and mine, Jesus uttered his last words before dying. Τετέλεσται (tetelestai) “It is finished” (John 19.30). This one word summary of Jesus’ life and death is perhaps the single most important statement in all of Scripture. … But the tense of the verb, the ‘perfect’ tense, brings out even more of what Jesus was saying. The perfect describes an action that was fully completed and has consequences at the time of speaking. Jesus could have used the aorist, ετελέσθη (etelestha), and simply said, ‘The work is done.’ But there is more, there is hope for you and for me. Because Jesus fully completed his task, the ongoing effects are that you are I are offered the free gift of salvation so that we can be with him forever” (Mounce 2003). Christ’s work truly was completed. It wasn’t simply a statement that Jesus thought he was about to die and his life was over, it was so much more than that. That completion has brought us into something very large. God has called us into something that we could never do on our own. He died for us, was battered for us, was a servant to us. It makes sense that we should live our lives for him. 1 Peter 2:24 and 25 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” That is very comforting and challenging and convicting. Because it has been completed in Christ, we have returned to the Guardian of our souls. His wounds saved us, not anything we could ever hope to do. We own him our lives and our daily walk and actions should reflect that.

    ”Only here in the entire gospel does the Evangelist speak of a teleioun of the Scriptures, an increase over the previous formulaic pleroun, which expresses the ‘ultimate fulfillment’ of all Christological prophecy in the Scriptures, which in turn reach their goal in the death of Jesus. The Evangelist consciously placed this hina teleiothe he graphe between the two tetelestai‘s, Jesus’ knowledge that the end had come in v 28, and his death cry in v 30. With Jesus’ death the ‘work of saving the world,’ which the Father had entrusted to him by sending him into the world, is ‘finished’” (Hengel 1990). We are a part of the completion that Jesus brought about. Since his cry was a victory cry, we should entry into that cry and live as he has called us to live.



Barclay, William (1975). The Gospel of John: Volume 2. Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press.

Beasley-Murray, George R. (1999). John Second Edition: World Biblical Commentary (Bruce M. Metzger, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Brown, R.E. (1970). The Gospel According to John (xii-xxi): The Anchor Bible (W.F. Albright, Ed.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Bruce, F. F. (1983). The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Elowsky, Joel C. (Ed.). (2007). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb: John 11-21. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Fitzmyer, J. A. (1978). Crucifixion in ancient palestine, qumran literature, and the new testament. Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 40(4), 493-513.

Hengel, Martin. (1990). The Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel. Horizons in Biblical Theology, 12(1), 19-41.

Miller, J. V. (1983). The time of the crucifixion. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 26(2), 157-166.

Morris, Leon (1995). The Gospel According to John: The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Gordon D. Fee, Ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company.

________ (1988). Reflections on the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

Mounce, William D. (2003). Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

Whitacre, Rodney A. (1999). John: The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Grant R. Osborne, Ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Categories: Religion, Theology

The Pale Pacific Records a Live CD!

October 12th, 2007 No comments

Gabe and Justin

Erin and I at the showBack on August 11th, Erin and I went to another awesome show at The Crocodile Cafe. The Pale Pacific put on two shows because they are going to put out a live CD! How awesome is that? The set list was great; the CD should sound amazing. Cam, Gabe, Greg, and Justin gave a performance quite worthy of being recorded and now Cam just has to find the time to mix all the tapes down. I just hope it comes out soon! We’ll see I guess. I will be sure to keep you updated when it becomes available.

Here’s the scoop, as per usual, I took some pics and some video clips. For your visual enjoyment, check out my Flickr set: The Pale Pacific @ The Crocodile Cafe. Some are posted below as well and will take you to those pictures, but you should check out the full set (and larger versions). AND for your visual and audio enjoyment, I have posted some clips up at YouTube. You should check them out, I am pretty sure you will enjoy them. (You can also check out my Pale Pacific YouTube playlist.

  • Wake Up Call
  • Sucker Punch
  • Stop/Start
  • Reasons to Try
  • In The Sun Pt. 1
  • Gravity Gets Things Done
  • 11
  • CamCam's PedalsCamGregGabeCam
    The Pale Pacific Rocks!

    Categories: Meaningful Song, Photoblog


    September 2nd, 2007 No comments

    This has been one of the longer stretches of no posting for me. And this is only the beginning I suppose. There are lot of posts to get up and I am way behind. School starts for Bellevue on Tuesday and I am pretty excited about that! Fortunately I don’t have actual classes at SPU until the end of September so this will be a somewhat relaxing month as I become used to and involved at Tillicum. So here are the things I need to get up (more as a reminder to me):

  • Lonely Forest pics and vids from a few various shows
  • Pale Pacific pics and vids from the Crocodile Cafe
  • Family camping at Swift reservoir
  • Family beach trip to Seaside
  • Young Life camp at Wildhorse Canyon
  • Project 365/365 Days stuff
  • Categories: Daily Life

    Things are coming along nicely…

    August 9th, 2007 3 comments
  • Classes are done for the summer (but I have loads of reading and writing to do).
  • Young Life’s trip to Wildhorse Canyon was this past weekend and it was awesome (pictures to follow).
  • My notebook is finally on its way!
  • Family trip to the ocean is coming up in a little over a week.
  • My friend Casey is getting married this Saturday.
  • The Pale Pacific is playing at the Crocodile and recording a live album this Saturday evening (let me know if you want to come, the Lonely Forest is playing with them earlier in the day as well, let me know if you want details).
  • Graduate school in education is much easier than graduate school in Theology.
  • I started using a cool book website called, you should check it out and add me as a friend.
  • My SPU/ARC blog is helping me keep things organized.
  • Yep, things are going fairly well right now. I am busy, but having fun and just enjoying things. It is just amazing that the summer is going by so fast! School starts up in about a month! Crazy. Anyway, I am still around and have a number of posts that I know I need to get up. Have patience! ;)

    Categories: Daily Life

    The Lonely Forest’s debut album: Nuclear Winter

    July 30th, 2007 1 comment

    I have been listening to The Lonely Forest for a while now and their EPs have always left me wanting more. To be honest, I was a little nervous when Tony left and the God is Dead project was sidelined for Nuclear Winter. With the release of the new album, my concerns have been alleviated and my wants have been fulfilled.

    The debut is a concept album: “a space rock odyssey into an alternate dimension, [which] showcases the raw sound of the piano, bass and drums layered with synthesizers and melodic vocals” (source). Not only that, but it is the story of a lonely hero who leaves the Earth as it is being destroyed. The narrative throughout the album is compelling and captivating. For those of you who appreciate the call to social justice, you will eat this up; for those of you who place emphasis in other areas, you should eat this up. Regardless of where you are politically, you should find the issues raised worthy of listening to and pondering.

    Questioning God and the search for truth are common themes throughout. While not part of the main story, Hangman sheds light on our hero’s life and struggle (and is one of my favorite songs). Leader Holding His Eyes deals with the frustration that our hero fosters with the leaders of his time:

    All we had is gone, tell me Lord what have we become?
    When water, earth and sky are sacrificed
    By leaders ruling blind…

    This frustration continues throughout. Another one of my favorite tracks is Lessons in Miscommunication Part II, which is a mellow and powerful reprise of Part I and Leader Holding, is where hope is lost:

    Angels weep at this gaping hole
    Spilling blood till our lungs are full
    Corrupt kings and governments fall
    And we can’t deny…

    That we could have made, made a choice
    To consciously love those who had no voice

    Hope seems to be found again as our hero ends this part of the journey and heads for new skies through Cygnus.

    What are we to do with this wonderful creation? Well you will have to decide. There is definitely a call to make the world a better place. There is the search for God and who He is. Lots of good things to think about. But really, we are left in anticipation. How can things be different for us? You should read the story, listen to the lyrics (they are here for your convenience). What does it make you think about?

    Oh right, there is music too! What is a good story without some amazing music to carry it along? Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I was a little worried about how things would sound without Tony’s electric guitar, but the trio of John, Eric, and Braydn knew how to balance things perfectly. The driving keys that John Van Deusen provides makes sure that the melody is never lost. The crisp… or distorted as the case may be… bass lines from Eric Sturgeon keep things moving along. The abilities of Braydn Krueger on drums are extensive; he is able to surprise you in every song with something you didn’t expect, completing the trio. And of course there is John’s voice. If you haven’t heard it, you are missing out. There are a few songs on the album that I didn’t think I would like because John yells… that is generally not my style. I dig it live, because hey, it’s a rock show, but on a studio album? But who screams in key? He compliments his outbursts by moving right into melody, the contrast is quite striking and interesting. Part of me still misses the sound from Regicide, but the other part of me knows this sound is extremely well done, creative, and original. In the past two weeks I have played this album over and over and I truly cannot get tired of it.

    Now that I have you lusting for this masterpiece of a rock opera, you want to know where you can pick one up, right? Well I have great news, there are a number of ways AND the CD can be yours for only $10! In early August you will be able to buy it online here, it will also be available at a few local music stores (check out Easy Street Records right now!), AND you have multiple chances to pick one up at a live CD release show.

    August 4th, 7:30pm (doors at 7:00p) @ the Vera Project at the Seattle Center. The cost is $6.

    August 10th, 8:00pm @ the Retrodoxy in Mount Vernon. The cost is $5.

    August 11th, 4:00pm @ The Crocodile Cafe in Seattle with (are you ready for this?) The Pale Pacific! The cost is $10.

    How about that for options? What is the bottom line (cause, wow, this is becoming a REALLY long post)? This is a great cd that is well worth checking out. This is a great introduction to The Lonely Forest. So get on that!

    Categories: Meaningful Song

    Some pre-break housekeeping…

    July 13th, 2007 3 comments

    How can I take a break? My entire life has been one big break lately. Oh well, calling it a vacation is just as bad because I am not vacationing from anything… Any way you look at it, I won’t be around for a little over a week.

    Tomorrow (ok, technically today) I will be hanging with friends, going to Harry Potter at the IMAX, then going to see Harry and the Potters over at the Seattle Public Library (let me know if you want to come, it will be pretty awesome). Saturday morning I will be catching a ferry over to the peninsula for a friend’s wedding in Port Angeles. After that I will be driving down to Longview and my parents’ house. Sunday is a baby shower for Dan and Michelle. Then Monday I will be heading out with some of the fam for our annual camping trip to Swift Reservoir! (Our 2006 trip and our 2005 trip.) Yay!

    Then when I get back the next Monday I will be starting up my busy life over at SPU. It will be quite nice to get that going!

    A few points of interest while I am gone: the Lonely Forest has lots of shows coming up, you should go watch them! See their MySpace page for details. Also Woodsong is coming up next week (July 19th-22nd). I HIGHLY recommend it. It is a lovely time and enjoying Orcas Island and good music. The Lonely Forest will be there, and Dana Little and Tara Ward (of Late Tuesday) will be there (doing solo sets), The Pale Pacific, Corbin Gets it Right, and Jason Harrod will be there (how awesome is that group of musicians? And that isn’t even everyone!). Check out their website or their MySpace for details.

    Also, please feel free to keep commenting on my posts… I promise I will respond when I get back! I would definitely like to here from more people about what they think about The Three B’s of the Church and The Stranger: A Month of Sundays. So get on that! ;)

    I think that may be all I have to say for now… ohhhh I just ordered a new laptop!! My desktop has finally crashed and my current laptop has its own issues (a five minute battery being just one of those issues) so I wanted to get a desktop replacement that will get me through grad school and into a new job. What did I get you ask? Well if you don’t mind the vulgarity… I got a kick-ass machine. It is an ASUS (if you don’t know them, it’s ok, nerds like me know who they are) 15.4 WSXGA+ widescreen, Intel Core 2 Duo Conroe E6600 2.4 GHz 1066 MHz FSB, 3 GB 667Mhz DDR-2 Ram, 160 GB Hard Drive, GeForce 8600M GT 512M Video Card, and integrated everything! Am I drooling… yes. So when I get back from camping it should be here and ready to have my $20 copy of Windows Vista Ultimate and $10 copy of Office 2007 (all legal!) installed. Yes, I am quite excited. Ok, sorry for boring you. Just look at these two pictures and tell me it isn’t a thing of beauty!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week! See you on the flip side!

    Categories: Blogging, Daily Life

    A Late Tuesday Going Away Party

    February 4th, 2007 No comments

    Late Tuesday

    Eric Sturgeon (of the Lonely Forest) stopped by to say hi!
    Eric, me (looking a little crazy), Bekah, Tammy, Erin, and Jen.

    The night finally came: Late Tuesday (my Late Tuesday blog page) is now in retirement. But what a wonderful way to go! The show went from 7 to nearly midnight and I could have kept listening. Late Tuesday invited some of their band-friends (well, and real life friends too) to play with them and the line-up could not have been better. Corbin Watkins opened; great voice, pretty talented guy! The Lonely Forest (my Lonely Forest blog page) was up next with more of their new music. I am pretty excited because they are getting into the studio to record their first full length album soon! Awesome as usual. Mindhead brought us all a great treat by coming out of retirement for a special performance. I had never heard them as a band before and was pretty blown away, they really went all out! Another personal favorite in The Pale Pacific came next. They are always fun to see and put on a rockin’ show. Gabe and Cam’s antics are always good times. And finally Tara, Dana, and Jocelyn made it up on stage to perform their farewell show. I’m not sure how the held it together, it was a great show filled with emotion, humor, and their usual witty banter. Their final song was, of course, I Must Go; pretty sad.

    It was a great way to say “good-bye” to their fans and for us to say “thanks” to them for their music. So, Dana, Jocelyn, and Tara: thank you. It has been lots of fun hanging out and listening to your music. I look forward to your solo stuff! See you around! :)

    I took quite a few pictures and a few video clips. I picked a selection of photos and posted them at my Flick set: Late Tuesday’s Going Away Party. Stop by and check those out. A larger selection of pictures can be found at the bottom of this post.

    Read more…

    Categories: Meaningful Song, Photoblog

    Late Tuesday Says Goodbye

    January 11th, 2007 No comments

    I never know when to post show information. Too soon and everyone will forget, too late and calendars will be filled up. So here is my best shot at getting the word out. So don’t forget!

    The date is fastly approaching: The lovely ladies of Late Tuesday will be performing their final show together on Groundhog’s Day, February 2nd in Bellingham, WA at Bakerview Auditorium (location). The show costs $7 and can be purchased at Christ the King Community Church, Village books, online at Upfest ($1 extra for the delivery), or at the show (but you might want to get them ahead of time!). Show is at 7:00pm and get their early!

    This show is going to be amazing for numerous reasons. First and primary is of course that this is the last time Dana, Tara, and Jocelyn will be playing together (well, except for any reunion tours of course!). After 7 years, 4 full length albums, a Christmas EP, and numerous delightful live performances, they have decided to break up for various reasons. Anyone who has enjoyed their music should be there to show your support! Because this is their farewell show, they have invited some amazing bands that they have played with over the years to share the night. This has me pretty excited because two of the four bands are two of my favorite bands, one is another incredible band that is coming out of retirement for the day, and one I have heard is also pretty talented.

    You ready for this line-up? Late Tuesday (MySpace, My Late Tuesday blog page), The Pale Pacific (MySpace, My Pale Pacific blog posts), Mindhead (MySpace), The Lonely Forest (MySpace, My Lonely Forest blog page), and Corbin Watkins (MySapce). Can you say epic? This is going to be an incredible night of music that will be hard to beat. I just hope the show is really long! Plan on being there, how can you not?

    Categories: Meaningful Song
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