JOHN 19:28-30; Luke 24: 1-6
Finished. That’s a powerful word. When you use the word “finished,” you are bringing something to a close.
In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus is revealed. In the Book of Acts, Jesus is preached. In the epistles, the Christ is explained. And in the Revelation, the finishing book, we learn that he is expected to come back again.
So this word that it is finished has to be looked at in proper perspective. Because the ending of one thing is often times the beginning of another. But something came to an end that day. Something more than the life of Jesus’ physical body.
It is finished, he said.
When God finished the work of the creation, the Bible says that he rested. Not because God needed a time-out. Not because He was tired. He didn’t rest for himself, but he rested after he finished the work of creating a place for you and for me. A place of dominion for you and for me.
Remember that time that the disciples picked some grain to eat on the Sabbath because they were hungry. The Pharisees came up to Jesus and accused them of breaking the law of the Sabbath. Jesus came back and said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” So God rested for our benefit—and not for His.
And what benefit do we get from God resting on the Sabbath, anyway? Not because God was concerned about us getting tired from working. If you don’t get tired from working, it ain’t really work. But God took time out to look back at what he’d done, and the Bible says the Lord said: “It is good.” And He took time out to look ahead to the great work that his Son would one day do.
I want you to recognize the finished work of God in creation and to see Christ’s finished work on the cross in the light of the rest we have in Him.
It is finished, he said.
And when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He declared that everything necessary for salvation was complete. We can’t add anything to it. We can’t take anything away. He is the author and finisher of our salvation. It is His work, His grace, His love that saves us. And it was His sacrifice on the cross that made it all work.
He finished the work the Father gave him to do, and His work keeps us covered on the road to salvation. His grace keeps us covered. His love keeps us covered. Philippians 1:6 says, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Jesus finished the work. All the work that is necessary. It’s finished. Finished in creation, and finished in Christ. Finished so that a time of rest can be entered.
Finished to provide a day of rest and reflection, where we look to the promise of a brand new tomorrow.
Thank God that tomorrow always comes. Whether you or I are here or not, tomorrow always comes.
Jesus gave up the ghost on Friday so that you and I would have something wonderful to see on Sunday.
And on Sunday, Jesus got up.
For the Bible teaches us that on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre,
3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6He is not here, but is risen; . . . .
20Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Because the truth of the matter is that every Sunday morning, when we bump into Jesus, we come face to face with the truth of the resurrected Lord.
And on this day, all over the world, in big churches and little churches, the Story of the Empty Tomb is being told, and I’m so glad that the story of the cross does not end with Jesus dying between two thieves that day. I’m glad that when he finished one thing he started another. I’m glad because it’s important for us al And while I know that a lot of folk who go to church on what we call Easter Sunday go because it’s one of the two or three times they go to church— for them it’s just something that most folks do, go to church on Easter, go to church on Christmas— but some folk go because somewhere inside them they feel the need to be reminded that he died on the cross as a covering for our sins.
But whatever the reason you go to church on any day, it’s a day well spent. Wherever somebody is singing praises, wherever somebody is praying prayers, wherever somebody is telling the Story of the Savior, it’s a mighty good l to get beyond the dying part of his living, and to absolutely clear about the fact that Jesus got up.
Over in the 24th chapter of Luke, Mary and the other women got up early in the morning to go down to the tomb where Jesus was laid. They were going to the grave to pay their last respects. They brought with them special spices they had prepared to anoint the dead body of the Christ.
The Bible paints a pretty dreary picture, my friends. Just like the eleven disciples who remained, these women had pretty much lost all hope. Jesus was dead and that was just that. He was finished – he was gone – he was dead – he was buried. And now he was only a memory. The last thing they expected to hear that morning was, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? You’re looking for Jesus, but Jesus is not here. Because Jesus got up.”
And I tell you right now that some of us sitting in this place today ought to stop looking for the stuff of life in dead places. Some of us sitting right here in this place ought to stop hanging around dead people, spending unproductive time with dead people– people with dead spirits who don’t have anything cause they don’t want anything cause they can’t see anything cause they don’t believe anything. Why seek ye the living among the dead? Get yourself around some people who are not afraid or ashamed of the resurrected word. Get yourself around some folk who are alive with the risen word, my friends. Folk who allow that word to get in them and lift their spirits, lift their thinking, lift the very view they have of themselves. AMEN
In the first chapter of the Book of John, John said that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and the word put on human flesh and dwelt among people and the world recognized him not.
See, when Jesus got up, God’s word got up. The Word was resurrected to new life and new power and new hope of deliverance in an unknowing world. When Jesus got up, the living Word was restored in you. It was restored in you and you and you and you. And a resurrected Word means a resurrected life.
Because the resurrection ought to change the way we look at ourselves. And every Sunday ought to be a reminder of the reason Jesus got up.
The resurrection of the living word from the physically and spiritually dead things of the world is what separates true Christianity from the made-up stuff. “If Christ is not risen,” Paul said in 1 Cor 15:14, “then our preaching is empty and your faith is in vain.” And if you are not a resurrected being in the word, all your believing is for nothing and you are still in your sins!
I don’t have to get caught up dealing with the critics who say that Christ never got up from the hold of the grave. Because the God I serve is able to do everything. The God I serve can do any thing. And nothing, nothing, nothing, my friends, is too big for my God.
But the whole idea of Jesus after he walked out of the tomb is more than just that of a man being raised from the dead. Why? Because he wasn’t the first.
In I Kings 17, the prophet Elijah repaid a woman’s kindness by stretching himself over the woman’s dead child and causing the boy’s soul to return to his body. And the dead boy got up.
In the 5th chapter of Mark, Jesus is on his way to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter when he’s interrupted on his journey by the woman with an issue of blood. While he’s there, dealing with her, bad news comes to Jairus when a servant arrives to tell him that there’s no longer a need to bother the Master, for his daughter has already passed away. But Jesus tells Jairus not to fear, and only believe. And with that spoken word, miles away from Jairus’ house, that little dead girl got up.
In Luke chapter 7, Jesus watched a funeral procession passing him by and he looked upon the mother of the man who was dead and the Bible says he had compassion on her. He told the woman not to cry, then he said to the dead man one simple word: ‘Arise.’ And the Bible tells us that right there in the middle of that funeral procession the dead man got up.
In the 20th chapter of the book of Acts, a young boy named Eutychus was sitting in a third floor window listening to Paul preach one of his long sermons. He fell asleep during the message as young folk will do, leaned back, fell out of the window and the Bible says, he was taken up dead.
But Paul went down and the Bible says Paul “fell on him,” and embraced him and a little while later, Eutychus got up.
So we ought not be confused about whether God could tell Jesus to get up, too.
And you ought not be confused about what God can do in your life, too.
Jesus got up to demonstrate the power of the Word over life and death. The resurrection is the promise of our resurrection from the dead— from both physical death and spiritual death. I tell you the empty tomb is yet full of power, my friends.
Because the Resurrection changes things. The Resurrection completes the story and takes us all the way back to the beginning of things.
In Gen 1:26-28, Adam is created in the very image of God. Since God is a spirit, the scripture is saying that Adam’s spiritual character was formed in God’s own likeness, holy and pure. He was living in perfect harmony with everything around him. God gave him divine purpose and the power to accomplish whatever he would.
But then Adam sinned. I tell you if he had not sinned, the spiritual anointing on his life would have passed down to every child in every generation. So every son would have been empowered to subdue the earth and have dominion and rule perfectly for God.
And on the day that Adam sinned, God began looking for someone who could live up to the challenge of living and not sinning. For someone who could live up to the responsibility that goes along with being made in the image of God.
From Adam to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph to David and on, God put his Word in those men and said wherever you go anybody that gets in touching distance of you—something’s going to leap off of you and onto them. And they’re going to know that they’ve been empowered to do more, empowered to want more, empowered to have more, to feel more, to see more, to be more—all because of you!
But just because the Word comes doesn’t mean the Word will stay. Because the Bible teaches us that the Word has to take root.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about the Word being sown on good ground and bad ground, hard ground and on thorny ground and how sometimes the Word dies after it has been sown.
But just like the dead man in the funeral procession got up; just like the son of the Widow who fed Elijah got up; just like little Eutychus got up; just like Jairus’ daughter got up; just like Lazarus got up, the Word will get up. The Word will be resurrected. In you or in you or in you or in you. It will not be denied.
And that Word is the anointing to prosper. That Word is your anointing to overcome.
The anointing given to Adam was to rise up and subdue the earth and take everything under dominion.
Adam slipped up, but Noah fit himself underneath that anointing and Noah rose.
Adam slipped up, but Abraham fit himself under that anointing and Abraham rose.
Adam slipped up, but Abraham fit himself under that anointing and Isaac rose. Jacob rose. Joseph rose and even David rose—with all of his problems.
And because David rose, a man who was clearly like you and me. He took another man’s wife and then had the man killed so he could keep her; lost himself in his selfishness and forgot for a time all about God. Because the Word was resurrected in David, I know that you and I are supposed to rise up, too.
In Gen 17:1-2 God took a look at Abraham, and the two of them had a conversation.
“Walk before me and be thou perfect, and I’ll make my covenant with you,” God said.
Because man couldn’t get to the next dimension of God’s purpose until somebody walked perfect.
God had to send the Word to earth because it was the only way for the lost covenant people to ever have a hope of getting back home. Not home to a place, but to a faith. Home to an understanding that would empower them to be more than they were; to be better than they were. Home to a belief that there is but one true God, and that no matter what other folk might say, you don’t bow down to other gods because the one true God is an awfully jealous God.
Home to a belief that they should love their God with all their mind and all their hearts and all their strength, and then love their neighbors with just as much love as they loved themselves.
Home to an understanding that before they could embrace anybody else, they had to first learn how to embrace themselves. To see themselves the way God sees them. To learn the ways of nation-building. To stop killing one another and stealing from one another. To work hard during the week and then rest one day.
Because if he could only get them to believe.
All things are possible to them who believe.
And if only the folk who profess to love the Lord and who profess to follow the Lord would only think like he thought, and act like he acted and follow his pattern of ministry, we would see that our faith doesn’t really give us a choice in this people building process.
[Listen: No black child 6 or 7 or 8 years old ought to look at two dolls, one black and one white and say they prefer the white doll because the white doll is nice and the black doll is bad. When dolls can’t talk. Dolls don’t walk. And dolls don’t smell. They don’t do anything but sit up somewhere and look back at you. And when our children end up in that kind of place at such an early age there is something wrong with our faith.
And I don’t mean to offend anybody, but I say our children because white children don’t choose black dolls over white dolls. So, if we really believe in the Words of Jesus, then lets hear him when he says “people who are whole don’t need a physician, it’s the people who are sick who need a doctor.”]
This word is a healing word. And I hear Jesus saying “they that be whole don’t need a physician, but they that are sick—those are the ones who are in need of the healing.
I don’t waste my time trying to doctor on people who don’t need a doctor, Jesus said. I’m a healer, he said. I’m a spiritual fixer-upper. There are plenty of people who are spiritually broken down and they need this word. They need this wisdom. They need this understanding. The need a resurrected Word to push them back to belief, and back to real faith.
Faith– not religion.
Faith– not tradition.
Faith—not the rules and regulations that make you DO so that you can BE.
You know– DO this so that you can be a holy people. DO that so that you can be a righteous people. God sent Jesus to turn that thing around, so that now we are supposed to BE so we can DO.
Be good, be right, be trustworthy, be honest, be a man of integrity, be a woman of truth. Be just, defend the weak, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy strength and all thy mind, and love your neighbor like you love yourself. See, if we can just get up out of the old stuff, the dead stuff, the useless stuff, we can BE the people God wants us to be and then we can DO everything God wants us to do—because we want to, not because we’re told to.
Faith, the size of a grain of mustard seed.
Faith. In God and in our ability to move as He said we could move. To walk in the anointing, to act in the anointing, to act under the power. To do the work and the ministry and the miracles that Christ did.
We’re so busy trying to find the right religion, or to judge somebody else’s religion, we have become blinded by the fact that it ain’t about religion at all.
Tell person sitting next to you: it’s getting up time, baby.
See, if I can just walk in faith, God declares I’ll be blessed. And so blessed that other folk will get blessed, too. Blessed in me, covered in me, anointed in me.
A resurrected Word can supernaturally cause things to go well for you.
A resurrected Word can raise folk up out of poverty and neglect.
So that no matter how other folk try to hold you down,
press you down,
tie you down
lock you down
close you down
you’ll rise up without even knowing how.
you’ll overcome without even understanding the process.
Somebody had to finish it
Somebody had to stand in the gap
Somebody had to retake dominion
Somebody had to take the keys from Satan
Somebody had to take captivity captive
Jesus had to do it, so that we would understand what he meant when he said “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
So he had to get up.
Because as much as we talk about his dying, it’s really all about his living. And your living. And your living. And my living.
Abundant living. Righteous living. Prosperous living.
Spiritually abundant. Physically abundant.
More abundantly, Jesus said.
More abundantly than Adam had it. More abundantly than Noah had it.
>>> Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Melchisedek.
He had to get up.
So that you and I could know that we can get up, too.
Yes, we’ll get up in the after life.
Yes, we’ll stand before the Great White throne and be judged one day.
But there’s a great getting-up morning that is ours to claim right now.
Christ got up.
The Messiah got up.
The anointed one got up.
There is hope in the resurrection because nothing is impossible for God.
There is hope in the resurrection because I can die to sin and die to self-hate and die to low self-esteem, I can die to low thinking and low achieving, I can die to the spirit of “I can’t do his, and I can’t do that,” and I can get back up again.
Because the Word got back up, and I’ve got the word inside.
Jesus himself declared in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” he asked.
I don’t know about you, but I stand today to tell you that I believe.
What about you?
I believe that God’s word is the Way.
I believe that God’s word is the Truth.
I believe that God’s word is the Life.
I believe that God’s word can pick you up, strip the grave clothes off of every dead circumstance, every dead situation, every dead relationship in your life,
I believe that God’s word can change your mind, and set the captives free.
I believe in the resurrecting power of the Word.
I believe that God’s word can bring back to life those who are physically, spiritually and mentally dead.
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
I tell you today that the dark valley of the shadow of death you just walked into is about to be lit up by the light of God’s revelation. For the Word possesses a power that is greater than any death.
And I know what I’m talking about because I came out.
Death tried to claim me, I had four heart attacks in one night, but the Lord brought me out.
And the Master said all we have to do to receive this promise is “believe.”
He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
Do you believe today?
I believe that God is the source of all power and that through prayer, fasting and obedience to his word, I can tap into that power.
If I can just die to all the thoughts and ideas and notions and misunderstandings that hold me back and kill my ability to move in the spirit, I can get up again.
Jesus told Martha that her brother Lazarus was going to get up out the grave. Martha said “I know that he will get up in the resurrection.” Jesus shook his head and said you don’t understand. The resurrection is today. The resurrection is right now. Wherever the word is there is resurrecting power. “I AM THE RESURRECTION” Jesus said to Martha, then he told her that “if you only believe, you will see God’s glory.”
Oh I tell you, it’s resurrection time. Time for everything dead to get up.
So right now, I anoint every hopeless situation. I anoint every dead relationship. Get up. Every dead marriage. Get up. Every dead expectation. Get up. Every dead kidney, every dead blood vessel. Get up. Every dead dream. Get up. Every dead vision. Every dead hope. Get up. Every dead household and every dead church. Get up.
Somebody told you that you’d never amount to anything in life. But the resurrected Word says you are wonderfully made. Get up.
I know it seems like your entire world is crashing down around you. Your car is on the blink. Your money is funny. You’re having trouble making ends meet.
But the resurrected Word says to ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.
Even though we die, yet shall we live.
Nothing is impossible. No person, no situation, no problem, nothing is too hard for God to fix. Jesus got up out of death. So surely you can get up out of bad times and debt. God is ready to forgive us and give us new life if we will only believe.
Do you believe today?
Not just for today, but for tomorrow and next week. Do you believe today?
If Jesus is the Resurrection, and Jesus—the Word—is inside you, then YOU are the Resurrection. Get up.
Get up on your feet. Touch three people and tell them I believe.
God wants you to walk perfect in the earth. Touch somebody and tell them “It’s time to get up.”
Get up out of feeling bad. Get up out of moping around. Get up out of sitting around waiting on something good to happen in your life. Get up and get to work. You’ll be a better testimony to the goodness of God AFTER you get up than you are right now.
You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family, you owe it to your church to get up out of that thing that’s killing your life, killing your dreams, killing your aspirations, killing your hope for a brighter tomorrow. Get up and get to work. Get up and loose the word. Get up and let God have his way. Get up in belief. Get up in understanding. Get up in the name of the Resurrected Word.
Get up, get up, get up, get up . . . . . . . . . .