When Jesus had reached the end of his suffering on the cross, he said, “It is finished. And then, bowing his head, yielded up his spirit” (John 19:30). The original Greek for “it is finished” is simply teleo. It’s a word used to signify when all requirements have been met and a thing is “completed.” Hence, in Jesus’ time, it was also used to indicate when a person had paid their taxes to the government (Caesar) “in full.”
Not surprisingly, teleo is the root of our word “toll.” Because only when one has paid the full toll are they allowed to pass through the gate. In fact, tomorrow is the tax deadline in my country, the date by which we are expected to have paid our government in full so that we may pass through the gate of legal obligation. Therefore, let us “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Because, yes…
There is another kind of gate. One that leads to life beyond all human expectations, one of “exceeding abundance.” Sadly, however, none of us has the strength of character or inherent goodness to pay the toll. So Jesus paid it for us, and in so doing became our “gate,” the way through which we may enter into that abundant life (John 10:9-10).
And now that he has risen from the dead, he invites us to stop fishing for the toll in the tattered pockets of our ragged goodness. To die to our old lives and rise to new ones. To enter with him — through him — into that abundant life.
“For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him.”
~1 Timothy 2:11