What exactly did it mean?
Growing up, I heard the story of Easter, that Jesus rose from the dead. But what exactly did it mean? As a child the story was portrayed to me on a flannel graph, or in an illustrated bible, in cutsey tellings from my Sunday school teachers. As I have gotten older and grown in my walk with Jesus, I have been diving into the times of darkness before the coming of our Messiah. What a sad and scary time. Because we exist on the other side of the cross, it is tough to imagine just how bleek life must have been for folks back then. Not hearing from the God that spoke to them through the prophets, not seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
A few years ago, I was part of an Easter drama called Remnant. It was the depiction of Jesus entrance into Jerusalem, His time before the crucifixion, His death, burial and resurrection. The first year I was a part of this drama, I played the role of Mary, Jesus's mother. I didn't have any lines, my entrance onto the scene was when Jesus was walking to Calvary carrying the cross. I was following behind a man that was clad in a cloth, lash marks, dirt, blood and a crown of thorns all while dragging this seemingly heavy cross. If I wasn't truly connected to this event before, I was now. I didn't even have to try really. It was like I was transported back in time, right there in the moment before Mary was to watch her son take on the sins of the world and she could do nothing to save Him.
Once this gentleman portraying Jesus reached the spot where he would be hung on that cross, the audience went silent. The speakers in the room echoed the sound of thunder, the lights became dim but a lone spotlight shone on Jesus. My body was trembling, my heart pounding as he spoke the words we now know as Jesus last; "It is finished" (John 19:30)
"It is finished", what exactly did it mean? The work His Father had sent Him to do was fulfilled. The debt of sin was paid. “It is finished,” is saying not only does Jesus take away man’s sin, but now He removes it as far as the east is to the west. Jesus brought about the completion of all the Old Testament prophecies, symbols, and foreshadowing about Himself.
All of this, then a thunderous roar wailed through the speakers even louder than before, symbolizing the barrier between the sins of man and God the father being demolished.
When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. Matthew 27:50-52
Again, I had heard the telling of this event over and over throughout my life, but the significance of it was never more astounding till this moment. The tearing of the veil, the demolition of a roadblock, the darkness becoming light again. However you want to spin it, Jesus paid it all and we now have access to the Father because of that obedience. The obedience of the perfect lamb fulfilling the prophecy;
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:1-6
Just when the audience was covered in darkness and you could hear a hush followed by tears and sniffles, the lights came on. The man portraying Jesus emerged from the makeshift tomb whole, and dressed in white.
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:4-7
So, what exactly did it mean? Everything. It meant everything to a believer. As believers we are commissioned to;
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,even to the end of the age.”Amen. -Matthew 28:19-20
The great commission; go and tell others. Tell others what Jesus did to fulfill prophecy, to save us from our sins, to wash us clean of our iniquities. Let them know He is with them, and His Holy Spirit will guide them all the days of their lives. All they have to do is believe He did this for them.
As we prepare our hearts to remember why we make this season so sacred, pray for those around you that may not have a working relationship with the Father. And pray for the wisdom to share what exactly it means to you.
Be blessed this Easter season.