If you were a Roman merchant in the first century and someone paid off a debt to you in full, you would have scrawled on the bottom of the debt sheet, "tetelestai." But if you were a Jewish follower of Jesus, listening to him cry out from the cross, that same phrase (maybe in Aramaic), would have hearkened back to a Hebrew phrase from Genesis at the end of the sixth day:
"The heavens and earth were finished.."
In his little book, Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, N.T. Wright reflects on this double-entendre that may have echoed through the minds of those with ears to hear:
Now, on Friday, the sixth day of the week, Jesus has completed the work of redeeming the world. With his shameful, chaotic, horrible death he has gone to the very bottom, to the darkest and deepest place of ruin, and has planted there the sign that says 'Rescued'. It is the sign of love, the love of the creator for his ruined creation, the love of the saviour for his ruined people. Yes, of course, it all has to be worked out. The victory has to be implemented. But it's done; it's completed; it's finished.
Holy Saturday is the day that we sit in reflection of what Christ has done--that which only he could have accomplished--and listen for the invitation for what we are to do to implement Jesus' victory in every setting of life.
In the upper room, when Peter asked Jesus if he could follow him wherever he was going on that dark night, Jesus, knowing Peter's frailty said, "You cannot follow me now, but you will follow me afterward." (John 13:36)
Today begins the "afterward."