It is Finished!

For many people, Easter morning is just another holiday on the calendar.  One where you prepare for a big ham dinner, spend time with family, and maybe even venture out to church with your extended family.  Many homes will include hidden eggs, bunnies, and loads of candy.  
For Christians this Sunday is quite possibly the most important celebration we will have in the year.  Yet, the Easter season is also one of the easier holidays to lose sight of the original meaning and intention.  The reason that we celebrate Easter Sunday is not because of bunnies or eggs, but is rather because of an empty tomb.
Before we get to the empty tomb, we have to rewind back a few days to the events that led to the tomb being needed at all.
On Friday, what we now call Good Friday, Jesus was enjoying a meal with his disciples.  In this meal he again predicted His death and pointed the ancient elements of the Jewish Passover meal towards Himself and the sacrifice He was about to make on the cross.  In this meal there was a loaf of bread that was broken, hidden away and later revealed again.  Jesus used that bread to describe how he would be broken, hidden away, and then revealed again by being brought back to life.
Similarly, after the meal, Jesus pointed the cup of wine to Himself saying that it represented a new covenant that was created through His blood.  This new covenant is a covenant based on redemption that could only be purchased by costly means. In order to redeem the lives of those who had sinned, blood was the payment.
Shortly after that meal, Jesus was arrested, brought through many secret trials and ultimately sentenced to death for blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God.  While suffering the most gruesome death that had been invented at that point, Jesus bore the pain, the torment, and the wrath of being separated from His Father so that He could bear the sins that you and I have committed.
At the end of His time on the cross, Jesus cried out the powerful words of “It is finished!”  It is important to note that he didn’t say “My part is finished, now you people can pick up where I left off and complete the task.”  Nor did He say “Some of it is finished.”  What Jesus said is that ALL of it is finished!
In His death on the cross, Jesus declared victory over the power of eternal death that separated mankind from the presence of God.  He bore the burden of all of the sins of every man, woman and child from the beginning until the end of time.  All of that was laid on Him.
Here is the big point: this truth is the primary difference between Christianity and every other world religion.  The Christian gospel focuses on what has already been DONE for you through Jesus on the cross.  Other religions focus on what you must DO in order to obtain favor of the deity worshiped.  
In Christ we find redemption. Through our weakness, Jesus’ strength is shown strong.  Because He died, I can live freely.  And, the story doesn’t end there.
That resounding cry from Friday echoes through to Sunday morning:  “It Is Finished!”  The empty grave serves as a reminder that death could not win.  If it was finished at the cross, then Jesus being raised from the dead is a bonus that gives proof that Jesus truly was the Son of God, the Messiah, the One who came to take away the sins of the world.
So, as you get ready for Easter morning what is on your mind? Are you thinking about bunnies and eggs, or are you thinking about the cross and the empty grave?  Are you thinking about what you have to DO to make your family or a version of “God” happy, or are you focusing on what the Living God has already DONE in order to secure your salvation?
If you have grown up thinking that you need to earn your salvation or that you have to add something to Jesus by being “good enough” for God to accept you then please understand the gospel story this Easter.  God saves those He loves not because of what they do, but because of what He has done.  God loves you not because you are worthy, but because Jesus was worthy and extends His worthiness to you as a gift.  
For those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus, you no longer need to worry about bearing the wrath and weight of your sins, for God has already poured that out on the only One who could handle it and defeat Death on your behalf.
If this message is new to you then I encourage you to be hungry to learn more.  If you have grown up thinking that you must earn God’s favor, then come and hear the truth about what God has already done for you.  Come learn about the gift of salvation that He freely extends to you. 
Maybe this Easter season will be the first time that the cross and the empty grave remind you not of what you need to do, but instead refocuses your heart and mind on what God has already DONE for you.  Come and celebrate what Jesus has already finished and the empty tomb while we praise the Living God who offers salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ.
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