Summary: The resurrection was God’s joyous and triumphant "AMEN!" to Jesus’ words on the cross, "it is finished."
The Amen That Changed the World
TCF Easter Sunday Sermon
April 16, 2006
Lest I disappoint those of you anticipating the sermon I would preach this Sunday from 1 Peter chapter 6, as Jim Garrett told you last week, I invite you first to turn there with me.
Wait! Let this be a lesson to you about Jim Garrett. There is no chapter 6 in 1 Peter. Jim Garrett is the ultimate leg-puller, and you must be careful when you’re listening to him lest he fool you. It’s not April 1, but Jim doesn’t seem to mind making April fools out of us any time during April, or all year round.
Let me start this morning by reading a dictionary definition. The word is:
1. The act of vindicating or condition of being vindicated.
2. The defense, such as evidence or argument, that serves to justify a claim or deed.
It’s that second definition I want to focus on this morning. When someone promises something, and then they fulfill that promise, that’s vindication. When someone says something has happened, and then there’s proof provided that it has happened, that’s vindication.
Resurrection Sunday is the ultimate in vindication. When Jesus said, in his last moments of earthly life, “it is finished,” He was making a truth claim – claiming something – “it” - was accomplished.
Near the very end of His agony on the cross, Jesus was telling us that His work had been completed. He meant not only that His suffering was over. He meant not only that His earthly life was over, but He meant primarily that he had completed everything, everything that God the Father had given Him to do for our redemption.
As we hear the words, “It is finished,” we realize that God’s great plan for salvation has come to fruition. The penalty for human sin has been paid. The chasm between sinful humanity and a holy God has been bridged by the sinless Son of God, who was fully God and fully human. Now, because of what Jesus has completed, we can be completely whole.
So, when Jesus said on that fateful Friday “It is finished,” He said a mouthful, He fulfilled a promise.
But think about this for a moment. What if Jesus hadn’t been raised? What if He suffered and died on the cross, then was placed in the tomb, and His dead body is still there to this day? Would, then, His words on the cross have still been true? He said, after all, “it is finished.”
Well, the apostle Paul answered that rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:17 (NIV) if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
So, in a very real way, Jesus’ death and resurrection are a package deal. One without the other is no good. But, thanks be to God, Jesus was raised. Think of it this way – thinking back to our dictionary definition a minute ago.
When Jesus said “it is finished,” God vindicated that statement with Jesus’ resurrection. It – the work of salvation - was already finished. God just said amen, thus validating, vindicating Jesus words.
The resurrection was The Amen That Changed the World.
I’ve never thought of the resurrection in this way until I began to prepare for this morning’s message, but I believe Jesus’ resurrection was the day God said Amen. He said amen, to Jesus’ statement on the cross, “it is finished.”
2 Corinthians 1:19-22 (NIV) 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The New Living Translation has the last part of verse 19 like this:
and he (Jesus) is the divine Yes—God’s affirmation.
Let’s develop this idea that the resurrection was God’s amen to Jesus’ words on the cross, “it is finished.”
The resurrection was God’s Amen – vindication, validation, proof – His work of resurrection confirmed God the Son’s Word about the work of salvation. His work confirmed His Word.
John Piper wrote:
"This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and perfect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death. The wrath of God was satisfied with the suffering and death of Jesus. The holy curse against sin was fully absorbed. The obedience of Christ was completed to the fullest measure. The righteousness of God was completely vindicated. All that was left to accomplish was the public declaration of God’s endorsement. This He gave by raising Jesus from the dead."