Someone once wrote these words, “The resurrection of Jesus is the ‘Amen!’ of the Father to the ‘It is Finished!’ of the Son.” What a brilliant summary of the meaning of the Easter story!
On that first Good Friday Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour (and incidentally the Creator of this universe), died on a cross. His death had been predicted for hundreds of years in Old Testament history. Those predictions were fulfilled as Jesus died on the cross. That was why He cried out, “It is finished!.” The work He had come to earth to do, to die for the sins of the world, had been done. The prophecies had been fulfilled and now forgiveness, salvation and new life were available to those who would trust in what Jesus had done on the cross.
God heard those words from Jesus’ lips as He hung on the cross. What did He think of them? Did He agree that this was the way in which sin could be removed? The answer came. The “Amen” WAS indeed given by the Father. He raised Jesus from the dead as the conqueror over sin, death and the powers of darkness.
We could think about all the benefits that came from what theologians call “The Finished Work Of Christ On The Cross”. Books have been written on all those blessings. But there is one truth that is always uppermost in my mind as I think of Easter. It is this particular truth. Easter means that JESUS IS ALIVE FOR EVERMORE. Not only that but we can have a living relationship with Him.
St Peter encouraged people to come to the Risen Jesus and to enter into such a living relationship. He wrote in 1 Peter 2:4-5, Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight. By coming to Him, one becomes spiritually alive together with others who believe in Him. Together in fellowship with a living Jesus we can offer sacrifices to God, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. How wonderful to know that as we live in this new relationship with Jesus we are motivated and empowered to do and say things that please our Heavenly Father.
“Christ Is Risen”. It is the message of Easter. But it is a present day reality as well for those who have come to Him. He is alive, in us as His people. The cry of our hearts is the same as St Paul’s when he wrote in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
There is a hymn that puts it so well. It has the words in the first verse, All of self and none of Thee. Then the writer (Theodore Monod) described in the following verses the process of progressively yielding his life to the Lord. The second verse has, Less of self and more of Thee. Verse 3 has the words, Some of self and some of Thee.
In the final verse he expressed his desire, the desire of those who love the risen, living Jesus,
Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered;
Grant me now my heart’s petition,
None of self, and all of Thee,
None of self, and all of Thee.
Jim Holbeck. Blog No.21. Posted on (Good) Friday 22nd April 2011