Although Christmas is the more heavily celebrated holiday, probably by virtue of its position in the human calendar, Easter is the weightier holiday in meaning, for without Easter, Christmas has less or no meaning; some will say there could have been no Easter without Christmas, surely the more accurate statement is that there could be no real Christmas had Easter not occurred; for the birth would have had far less meaning, except the sacrificial death had occurred.
Now therefore on this day around 2,000 years ago, the Christ yielded up His Life, exchanging it for death, that we who deserved death may have instead of deserved death, His Life, an exchange at once made the more beautiful (and un-understandable to the devil our accuser) for its seeming inequity. So we see that the Creator forfeited His Life for His creation, and the King became a subject to His own subjects, for their sakes; the Master became a servant for His Own servants, the Worthy One made Himself unworthy for we unworthy ones’ sakes; and “that Just One” was made unjust that we unjust might be counted just.
On that day when a sinless Christ was nailed to the Cross, paradox after paradox was thereby displayed, for He Himself created the tree of whose wood that Cross was made; He had nourished it from a seed, and had preserved it. In times of heat He had caressed the sapling’s boughs with gentle breezes, in times of cold He had smiled upon it with His own free sunshine. He had known of its primitive thirsts, and slaked them with the rain of His Heaven (for a tree’s thirst, primitive though it may be, still moves the heart of He Who clothes the grass of the field). Having taken such care over it, He was aware when they hewed it down, and foreknew its crude use; yea He was aware when one limb was shaped into crossbeam and another was shaped into stake.
The iron of the Romish hammer, and of those gruesome spikes, the Saviour Himself had forged; tens, maybe hundreds of millennia antecedent. Infernos of a nameless heat had melted stone and rock and crust into fiery magma, and by a great and violent belching the earth had spewed out of its belly the very rock from whence the iron for His nails was taken.
The Romish soldiers themselves He had fashioned in their mother’s wombs, perhaps not 60 years before. He knew their every sinew, He knew the manner of the beating of their heart. He knew their loves, their desires, their circumstance, their ancestry and their eventual end. Even as He hung on the Cross whose wood He had made, fastened thereon by nails that He had made, nailed thereupon by men that He had made, it was for the hearts of these men that a great compassion came over His own heart, and it was for their forgiveness that He cried out, beseeching His Father this grace on account of their ignorance.
That stygian afternoon as He hung between earth and sky, a black and awful silence came over natural creation. It was not the silence of peace, for peace had yet to be made. Nor was it the silence of awe. Nay, what stole over creation was the silence of utter, abject horror. Sun and Moon fled, un-chased, from the scene. Dovesong, breeze, and windsbreath, all ceased. Creation lay inert as its Creator hung dying, perhaps insensate that only by the death of that Wonderful One could its redemption be complete.
And so it was that when at last an end had been made of His great sacrifice, this Sinless One, this Just One cried out, “It is finished.” He of Whom all the Prophets had prophesied, and to Whom all true Prophets now point, He Whose coming the law made necessary, and Whose life – and death – the Law fulfilled (fulfills); at last He had finished His task. Listed below are a few of the things that came to an end at 3:00pm that afternoon so many years ago:
- The enmity between God and man – finished (Matthew 27:51a, Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21-22).
- The distance between God and man – finished (Ephesians 2:12-13).
- The price that needed to be paid to pay for sin – finished (I John 2:2).
- The sin of the world – finished (John 1:29, I John 2:2).
- Our own sins – finished (I Corinthians 15:3).
- The sin in the heart of man – finished (I John 1:7).
- The difference in God’s eyes between Jew and Gentile – finished (Ephesians 2:14-19).
- The devil – finished (Hebrews 2:14).
- The dispensation of the law – finished (John 1:17).
- The power of death over just men who had died before Christ’s death – finished (Matthew 27:52-53).
- The power of death over just men who died after Christ’s death – finished (I Corinthians 15:21-22).
Such that this morning, it is indeed finished, and an end has been made of all these things; it only remains, therefore, for an end to be made of all these things for us, at a personal level.
Jesus paid it all
All to Him we owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow