I have heard the Easter story for my entire life. Every year throughout my childhood the song was sung, “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.” “He arose a victor of the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign.” “He arose, He arose, Hallelujah Christ arose.”
It’s a beautiful song but I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t fully tell the reality of what happened for me. As I mature I am finding more of what God did during those three days.
Three days prior those whom He had come to earth to love had placed His body on a cross where He would hang to die. He spoke the words as he neared his last breath, “It is finished.” I’ve heard those words quoted throughout my life. For the longest time I believed Jesus was declaring that His suffering was drawing to a close. It made sense to me because right after that He said, “into your hands I commend my spirit.
I do not believe that any longer.
It is in those very words, I believe, that Jesus was declaring what had happened for mankind. In His last breaths He proclaimed, once for all, that He had fulfilled the demands of the self-righteous lifestyle. The law exposed that I could not get it right. He was the answer to the law on my behalf. He told me I didn’t have to, that He would do it for me. He finished all the requirements in my place. The separation ended. I was liberated.
In that moment, mankind was fully restored unto God. No longer would God be on the outside He would now dwell within. He would weave Himself into my being and be the strength and the love. He would be the vine, inviting me to be the branch. He would be the answer to my weary striving and performing. He would be the way, the truth and the life. He would be my rest.
No longer would life have to be sin and behavior focused. He forgave them all, past, present, future. Forgiveness had been granted, once for all. Each and every sin I had committed and would commit now would be forgotten never to be remembered again by Him. The grading scale was removed. I could be free.
An invitation was extended to allow the very life of Christ to now indwell me. It would be my starting point, my ending point. On my worst day, and every day I would be the righteousness of Christ. I would be in Him and He would be in me.
Jesus didn’t just walk out of the grave only to conquer sin and death. He walked out of the grave to allow life to begin again for me and for you. It is the most beautiful “do over” that has ever happened. I was allowed to become a new creation where old things were passed away and new things had come.
When Jesus said “it is finished” I was given a way to live in oneness with the God who made me to love me. He would become my very life.
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross. I am that joy. He saw me.
“For God, the Father, was IN Christ reconciling the world unto Him.”
©copyrighted; 2017; Julie H. Todd