Summary: Jesus finished His mission to provide us with salvation and power to live overcoming lives.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
Easter Sunday, April 20, 2003
“End Construction: It is Finished”
INTRODUCTION: Without the resurrection, the life and death of Jesus--though noble and admirable--are nevertheless tragic events. But with the resurrection, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power. (Romans 1:4). After the resurrection the disciples were transformed from lethargic and defeated followers into flaming witnesses in the book of Acts. The Good News is that God, by the resurrection of Jesus, defeated sin, death, and hell. This message is at the heart of Christianity. The resurrection is an integral part of the gospel that Paul preached. What does it mean to us this morning on Easter Sunday, 2003?
1. Resurrection Day: All four gospels tell the story of the resurrection with slightly different details. The crucifixion was a historical event that happened at a specific time and place, but the explanation of the resurrection is unavailable to us apart from divine revelation of the angel who said, “He has risen!” This word of divine revelation is the focal point in all four of the gospel accounts.
Very early in the morning Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. It was their custom just as we send flowers today. Their biggest worry was about how they were going to get the heavy stone rolled away. The stone would have been very difficult to remove because it was set in a sloped track and would have to be rolled back up the track or lifted out of the groove and then removed. The Matthew account tells how the stone was removed. That was no problem for God. “There was a violent earthquake for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb rolled back the stone and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2). The angel did not roll the stone away so that Jesus could get out but so that people could get in and see for themselves that He had indeed risen from the dead just as He had said He would.
If it had gotten through to them what Jesus said, they would have come to the tomb expecting him to be already risen and would have received the news with joyful assurance rather than fear and terror. Maybe they were afraid it was too good to be true. Maybe they didn’t want to be disappointed. For the most part we also have a difficult time believing. When something unusual happens in our life, we often react out of fear and terror also.
Story: Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. "Keep calm" the first explorer whispered. "Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run." "Sure," replied his companion. "You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?"Unknown
Had you been there that day, what would you have thought and felt? Would you have been afraid?
2. End Construction--It is finished: Today the title of our message is “End Construction: It is finished.” When you are driving in a heavy construction area for miles and miles, you are wanting it to end--to be able to go beyond the orange barrels and orange signs. You breathe a sigh of relief when a good highway unfolds before you.
When Jesus arose from the grave it was the end of the construction area. How do we know this? Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished!” He had successfully completed his mission. The tomb is past; that scene is over.
STORY: While two visitors were visiting Annapolis, they noticed several students on their hands and knees assessing the courtyard with pencils and clipboards in hand. "What are they doing?" one of them asked their tour guide.
"Each year," he replied with a grin, "The upperclassmen ask the freshmen how many bricks it took to finish paving this courtyard."
"So what’s the answer?" one of the visitors asked the tour guide when they were out of earshot of the freshmen.
The guide replied, "One."
That brings up an interesting theological question. How many sacrifices did it take to finish paying for our sins?
The Jews would have needed lots of pencils and clipboards to make the calculation. "Let’s see, let’s take all the sin offerings, all the guilt offerings, the bulls, the goats, the lambs, the turtledoves......"
So what’s the answer?
How many sacrifices did it take to finish paying for our sins?
Jesus was trying to get his disciples to move on away from the sad circumstances of his crucifixion and to believe the powerful news of the resurrection. He WAS crucified in weakness but now He IS RISEN in power. He paid the debt. It was finished.