Jesus last words: 'It is finished'

Jesus last words: 'It is finished'

Anne Lastman

Afikoman , seen mystically in Jewish tradition as representing or in place of "he who is to come" also as the "Cup of Redemption", and through these actions he recalls the promise, "I will redeem you" (Ex 6:6), bringing to mind the promised new covenant sealed with his blood, as all biblical covenants are.

The afikoman is little understood within Christianity, but it is important because it ( afikoman) no longer needs to be hidden since he makes himself known as Jesus, the promised one, who has come, and is ever present but hidden in the Eucharist.

It is interesting because the afikoman is eaten at the end of the Passover meal, and the Eucharist is eaten at the end of the Liturgy of the Word and Prayers of the Faithful.

Present, real, continuous

Perhaps the best word to describe both the Passover and the Eucharist (which are also the longest unbroken religious sacrifices) is the word anamnesis, a past event made present, real and continuous.

Jesus is the revealed Lamb, which must be eaten because if the Israelites in Egypt did not eat the lamb, then the next morning their first born would have been found dead. With Jesus saying, "Unless you eat of the flesh of the son of Man and drink his blood there is no life in you" (Jn 6:53-54), he is saying the same: unless you eat of his flesh, and drink his blood (Cup of the Messiah) in the New Passover of the Lamb, you will also have no life in you.

An extant Greek document called Peri Pascha "On the Passover" written by Melito, Bishop of Sardis, (circa 2nd century) and described as nothing less than a Christian text of the order of the Passover, refers to Jesus as the "one who is coming ( afikoman) out of heaven to the earth"! He is descending in order to ascend. He is the middle piece, the afikoman (God the Son) broken for "our transgressions" (Is 53:5).

With the eating of the afikoman, we can, with Jesus, say " Tetelestai" ("It is finished").

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