Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To Be Continued

As He hung on the cross, His body beaten, bloody, and pierced, Jesus knew that death was at hand. He mustered the last bit of strength He had and pushed on the spike driven through His feet to raise Himself up enough to inhale a final breath. And with that last breath, He exhaled, “It is finished.”
That’s when the prince of this world began to gloat at what he perceived was a concession speech. While he had been a first-hand witness to Jesus’ pre-incarnate glory and majesty in eternities past, this was the moment he had longed for since he had fallen from heaven - ‘God’s people’ had rejected God’s very own Son.
Although Jesus had spent three years ‘campaigning’ throughout the land, Lucifer had likewise been hard at work. His efforts had resulted in the masses refusing to acknowledge Jesus, the religious leaders trying to discredit and marginalize Him, Jesus’ closest friends betraying or abandoning Him, and the government treating Jesus as a common criminal.
Yes - that ‘angel of light’ (see 1 Corinthians 11:14) was truly beaming at what he believed was the final capitulation of the battle. He believed Jesus was acknowledging that it was ‘The End.’

But – PRAISE GOD! – that’s not where the story ended.
The issues were much bigger than ‘popularity’ or pride or religious ‘dogma.’ The stakes were much higher than any created being (including Satan) could fathom. And the perfect plan that had been set in motion before the dawn of time was still unfolding.
No, what appeared to be a victory for the forces of darkness was actually the first phase of Satan’s defeat. While Satan was wallowing in his supposed victory, the story played on. It wasn’t ‘the end’ at all – at least not for Jesus.
And not for us, either.
Because God’s children are human beings - made of flesh and blood - the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT)
‘Death’ couldn’t hold Jesus. It was no match for Him. He conquered death and rose victoriously in Life.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death . . .
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NLT

Jesus’ statement “It is finished” was not a concession of defeat. It was a proclamation of victory. He was letting all creation know that on that cross, His mission was flawlessly completed.
And He was declaring for all eternity that the Life that flowed from His completed work was . . . TO BE CONTINUED.

I am the resurrection and the life.
Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die
John 11:25-26 NLT

A continuation,
Craig Hollingsworth

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