four phrases of easter

"It is finished." 
 John 19:30 - "Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." 

On Friday, three hours after noon, Jesus said "It is finished," and died. Finished. What was finished? Jesus came to fulfill over 300 prophecies from hundreds of years before, and He did. Prophecies like Isaiah 53, that anyone new to the Bible would think was written after Jesus as a description!

"Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth."

But what was He really finishing? Why were the prophecies ever prophesied? As the pastor at church said today, "If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, maybe what it says about you and me is true as well." The Bible says we have all sinned, fallen short of God's glory, and left ourselves unable to pay our own way into the kingdom of God. So Jesus lived the life we couldn't live and then died the death we deserved to die. He didn't just lower the bar, and make it easier for us to work our way to salvation. No. He paid for the entire thing. All of it. Finished. Done. Romans 10:9 - "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." You will be saved. Done deal. It is finished.

"Do not be afraid."
Matthew 28:5-6 - "The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'"

After giving up everything to follow Jesus, His disciples and followers saw Him arrested, flogged, condemned, crucified, killed, and buried. They fear that they could be next. More than this, they feared that everything they believed had been a lie. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. Jesus is alive." 

And that is enough for us today. Whatever we're facing in life, whether irrational stress, big worries, change, heartbreak, tragedy, or anything else, Jesus' resurrection conquers those fears. Because if God can defeat death, what else can stand in His way? "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." (Rom. 8:11) If God was willing to suffer and die for you, and prove His power by rising again, what good will He withhold? More than anything else, the death and resurrection of Jesus proves that we can trust Him with everything. "He has risen, just as He said." He keeps His promises. Do not be afraid.

"Come and see."
Matthew 28: 6b - "Come and see the place where he lay."

The people back in 50 A.D. weren't dumb. They weren't just going to believe anything they heard. So the angel told them to come and see the tomb, and witness the fact that it truly was empty, just as he has said, and as Jesus had said. While faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see, God doesn't necessarily ask us to have "blind faith." The evidence for the authenticity and bodily resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming. If you missed it, here's the short post I wrote on the subject: click here. 

"Go and tell." 
Matthew 28:7 - "Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.'" 
Matthew 28:10 - "Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'" 

To the women who were the first to discover the empty tomb and hear that Jesus was alive, this wasn't something to keep to themselves. The first command they are given is to have no fear, but trust God; then they are told to come see the tomb in order to have confidence in the truth. But as soon as they believe, their first mission is to "go and tell." And just a few verses later, Jesus is commissioning all of His followers to "Go and make disciples of all nations." 

Jesus has finished the work of salvation, absolved all need for fear, and proven His power to us. We cannot keep that news to ourselves. How can you right now think of a new way, new person, or new method of sharing this gospel?

It is finished.
Do not be afraid.
Come and see. 

Go and tell.  

Happy Resurrection Day. Jesus is alive!

~ Thank you Pastor Tim Davis in Canby for your sermon today!


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