Back in the early 70’s I worked for my brother-in-law in aluminum siding. A local company paid us for applying the siding to older homes, hopefully making them look like new. This company wouldn’t release our compensation until the job was completed. On the bigger houses this could take a month or more. As a job was nearing completion, I’d tell my wife, ‘I think we’ll get paid today.’ But invariably we’d finish the day with more work to do. Job not done = no pay.
I relate that story to illustrate this point: our Lord Jesus came to earth with a job to do. The consequences of sin had to be dealt with, once and for all. And the Word of God joyfully reveals that Jesus finished His assignment. Through His death, burial, time in hell and resurrection, Jesus completed the plan of redemption. The work has been done with nothing more to do. The check is signed in His blood.
What does this mean to you and me? We’re not waiting on God. Prayer isn’t attempting to get God to do something He’s otherwise reluctant to do. We aren’t required to “eek out” a victory over the devil. No good works are necessary to receive answers in prayer. All requests for God’s promises have received a resounding answer: Yes! The work’s already done. For those who have accepted Jesus’ Lordship, righteousness is ours, health is ours, peace is ours, deliverance is ours, and an abundant life is ours.
Why aren’t we experiencing more of what is already ours? The Bible declares four times, “The just shall live by faith.” We are responsible to believe! And not merely intellectually. We’re to believe in our hearts. Heart belief is at the core of everything we receive in life – good or bad. If we don’t like what we’re receiving, we must check our heart.
But for right now, focus on the finished work. Mankind owed a huge debt that we could never have paid. As Jesus entered heaven and sat on His throne at God’s right hand, He, in effect, handed over a receipt of our bill marked PAID IN FULL!
Without going into an extensive Bible study, allow me to give an overview of the events of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
- After supper together (the Last Supper) Jesus and the disciples went to a garden they had used often, for prayer. Judas, simultaneously, went off the finalize plans to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders.
- After praying off by Himself in the agony of the moment, Jesus committed Himself to God’s will and woke the sleeping disciples.
- Judas showed up with a small mob of people carrying weapons and gave the fatal sign to Jesus’ enemies – a kiss.
- Jesus was carried off for a mock trial. He had to actually help the Jewish leaders to convict Him. He was sentenced to die for blasphemy.
- The Jews didn’t have the authority to carry out His death, so they were forced to take Jesus to Pilot the governor, needing to persuade him to condemn Jesus. Pilot wanted to free Jesus, recognizing His innocence, but feared the crowd who were crying, “Crucify him!”, and send Jesus off to receive a Roman scourging.
- Jesus was tied to a post, His back exposed, and beaten 39 times with a whip – but not just any whip! This one had pieces of bone and such that tore at the flesh, ripping away chunks of skin, probably even exposing bones and organs. Isaiah’s prophecy tells us that after this beating it was hard to tell that Jesus was a man – a human.
- Jesus was forced to carry His cross toward the place of crucifixion. He did so till it was more than He could bear. The soldiers then picked a man out of the crowd to carry His cross to Golgotha.
- On a hill overlooking Jerusalem Jesus was crucified. It was nicknamed “the place of the skull”. Crucifixion was the Roman means of the death penalty. He would have been laid out on the cross, then huge nails would have been driven through His wrists and into the rough-hewn wood. A nail would have been driven into His crossed ankles. After He was secured in this manner, the cross would have been raised up vertically and dropped into a hole dug for that purpose. The condemned would hang like this until, after hours of agony, they died.
- The Bible says that the sun grew dark as Jesus was raised up on that cross. And it remained dark for three hours, from noon till 3 PM.
- Jesus made seven important statements from the cross, but probably the most important as far we’re concerned was, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” At this juncture Jesus had all the sin of mankind placed on Him. “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.” Jesus paid our debt for us at the price of His life.
- Because the Passover holiday was at hand the Jewish leaders pressed to get Jesus dead and buried quickly. The soldiers were about to brake His legs, making death come quicker, but Jesus commended His spirit to God His Father and cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished!” as He “gave up the ghost” (died).
- A local rich man asked for the privilege of burying Jesus in his own tomb. With the help of Nicodemus he took the body off the cross, performed some hasty burial preparations, and placed it in his tomb. In order to keep the body of Jesus from being stolen, a huge stone was rolled over the mouth of the tomb and soldiers were placed on guard.
- So, here is Jesus’ body in the tomb, but where is Jesus? Jesus’ spirit and soul left His body as He cried out in a loud voice and gave up the ghost. Scripture indicates to me that Jesus would have been carried off to hell and torment because of the sin of all mankind placed on Him. He had to trust the Father to rescue Him from there by sending the Holy Spirit to raise Him from death.
- Jesus also took a quick trip to heaven to present His blood sacrifice in the Holy of Holies in heaven. Adam’s sin had even affected heaven, but Jesus’ sacrifice made all right again.
- Then, early on a Sunday morning, Jesus returned into His body, still scarred by whip marks and nail prints, and began presenting Himself to those who had believed in Him.
There’s much, much more to say about the resurrection, but time and space press me to move on. So I’ll close with the lyrics to an old Easter hymn:
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.
He arose the Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah Christ arose!