All this is drawn to its head as Jesus dies on the cross, with the single Greek word tetelestai, ‘It is finished’. For us, ‘finished’ can mean, simply, ‘stopped’, ‘it’s over’; ‘that’s enough of that’. But tetelestai means, much more, ‘It is completed’; the work is done. And, tellingly, it echoes the word spoken at the end of the sixth day in Genesis 1: God finished all his work which he had made. Not, God stopped, as though he was bored; rather, God completed the full task.
Now, on the sixth day, God completes his work.
Again, [Martin] Luther’s German gets it exactly right: Es ist vollbracht, from the verbvollbringen: it is ‘brought to the full’. And the result, for the moment at least, is the same as in Genesis: on the seventh day God rested from all his work. Thus Bach’s setting [from his St. John Passion composition] closes with the great chorus Ruht Wohl, ‘Rest Well’.
This is not the final end; as the short closing chorale will tell us, this ‘rest’ is but the prelude to the first day of the new week, the day of resurrection. But, for now, we watch the Lord of Glory laid to rest in the tomb with his work complete.
Wright, N.T. (2009). The ‘Passion’ of St John Today. NTWrightPage. Available http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/25/the-passion-of-st-john-today/. Last accessed 10th April 2017.