“You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin” ​(Psalm 85:2).

Psalm 85

I n the days of Roman rule in the Western World, the prisons were horrible and the conditions for prisoners were deplorable. When a violator of Roman law was evaluated by the governor, punishment was often swift and severe.

In the judgements which required imprisonment, the accused would be issued a “certificate of debt” which would sometimes hang outside the door of the cell on a clay tablet with the terms of punishment inscribed on the tablet. At the completion of the sentence, the term “Tetelestai” would be inscribed across the certificate of debt which meant that the debt had been “paid in full.” The prisoner would carry the tablet with him as he left the jail so that if anyone tried to accuse him again of the crime he could provide the tablet and prove that indeed his debt had been “paid in full.” He could never be tried for that infraction again.

Colossians 2:13-14 captures the proclamation made by Jesus on The Cross perfectly as He cried out for the atonement of yours and my “certificate of debt” before our Holy God: ​“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 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.”

“Tetelestai” our debt is “paid in full”… “It (Jesus’ mission of forgiveness) is finished.”

John 19:30 records the historical proclamation that is forever acclaimed on our eternal behalf:

“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ (Tetelestai) And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

  1. Write a sentence in 10 words or less from your heart to the Heart of The Great Shepherd letting Him know what His “Tetelestai” proclamation means to you.
  2. Psalm 85:4 – “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your indignation toward us to cease.”How does God’s grace restore you, motivate you, enrich your spirit, and fill your soul?
  3. Psalm 85:5 – “Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?​”How did Jesus’ decision to become The Lamb of God answer this question?
  4. Psalm 85:7-8 – “Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God The Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; but let them not turn back to folly.”
    What is it about forgiveness that brings peace to your soul?What is it about grace that motivates you to live in freedom from sin?
  5. Psalm 85:9-10, 13 – “Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.”
    Think about the golden chain of keywords in this passage… ​salvation​, ​fear​ God, God’s ​glory​, lovingkindness​, ​truth​, ​righteousness​, ​peace​… if you “bind this golden chain around your neck daily”, what will happen to your core values, your moral standards, and your deep reverence for God’s grace?


 John 13:15 – ​“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

From today’s scripture, how does ​THE​ Shepherd inspire ​you​ to shepherd ​your​ flock?


“​You forgave the iniquity of Your people; you covered all their sin” (Psalm 85:2).


A​doration, ​C​onfession, ​T​hanksgiving, ​S​upplication

Written by Joe White
Joe has been awarded two honorary Doctoral degrees and has written more than 20 books for teenagers and parents alike. Dr. James Dobson says "Joe White knows more about teenagers than anyone in North America." Joe and his wife, Debbie-Jo, reside in Branson, MO where they oversee Kanakuk Ministries.

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