Friday, April 10, 2009

Part 4: "It Is Finished!"

"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 men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised,
and we esteemed Him not.

Surely He took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered Him stricken by God,

smitten by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,

and by His wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet He did not open His mouth;

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away.

And who can speak of His descendants?

For He was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people He was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in His death,

though He had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer,

and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring and prolong His days,

and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

After the suffering of His soul,

He will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great,

and He will divide the spoils with the strong,

because He poured out His life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors."

Isaiah 53


I could not think of anything that more appropriately fit the end of my four-part Easter message than the prophecy GOD spoke to Isaiah in the above passage. After completing part three yesterday, I struggled for hours trying to come up with a way to condense the events that concluded on the cross and ending up copying the passage before I went to bed.

As I drove to town this afternoon, singing along with a worship CD Dana had compiled for me, I was suddenly so overcome by emotions I almost had to pull over to the side of the road. The Holy Spirit's presence was so strong it was almost physical. Tears poured from my eyes as I listened to the song that spoke of a God that loved me so much He would give His life for me. It was as though scenes were being played out in my mind, the dramatic details vivid and humbling. I was once again overcome with grief for my part in placing Him on that tree. It was a reminder that always brings the same results when I journey to the base of the cross.

As I drove down the highway, I knew I was forgiven. That was the whole divine purpose. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. I believe! Oh, friends, I do believe! I have embraced my Savior and all that was done for me to bring me to repentance and salvation. I love Him with a love stronger than I thought was possible. And I will love Him for all of eternity!

I knew then that I only had to use simple words and phrases to bring everyone to where I found myself at that point. As the poem I posted yesterday asks, I hope you join me in this final step on our journey to the cross where the Passover Lamb of God was slain and His blood poured out for the sins of us all.


"Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love." John 13:1

He washed their feet. The Passover supper. Betrayal. A promise. A warning. Instruction. A prayer. Gethsemane. His cup and His agony. Denial. He is arrested, questioned, condemned by the rulers.

He is scourged, beaten, reviled, mocked, feared and hated. A crown of thorns is placed upon His precious brow. A purple robe. His crime: a sign reading "Hail, King of the Jews" is placed around His neck. He is silent.

Voices cry out, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

He bears His own cross up Golgotha Hill as He is spat upon and mocked. He places Himself upon it. Iron spikes fix Him to that tree. Insults are "heaped" upon Him:

"He saved others," they said, "but He can't save Himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe."

He forgives.

Lots are cast for His clothing.
He thirsts. Agony tears through His broken body. Darkness comes over the whole land. An earthquake. The veil is rent. A centurion. A spear.

"Surely this man was the Son of God!"


It is finished...

Or is it?

Fear. Denial. Grief...An empty tomb and a huge stone rolled away from its entrance...Grave clothes folded and laid aside...Three women and angels....A message of hope?...Can we believe?...Is it really true?...Disbelief and doubt...But wait!...

He's gone!...

He's not there!...

He appears!...



May the God of all glory, our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ, richly bless you and your families this Easter season as you recall God's glorious plan. And I pray you will share with everyone that our Lord lives and desires entrance into their hearts. May His grace be upon you.

He is risen, indeed!

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