Easter cross

Easter: The Story of Christ’s Death and Resurrection

In fulfillment of God’s promises in Scripture, Christ suffered and died and was raised to life on the third day. Death is defeated; sin’s power is broken. The remission of sins is now available to all who believe in the powerful name of Jesus.

Jesus’ Trial

After various unsuccessful attempts to undermine Jesus’ popularity or frame him for sedition, the elders, chief priests and scribes finally had Jesus in their clutches. They were not about to waste the opportunity. Outraged at Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God (Luke 22:70 – 71), these religious leaders brought Jesus before Pilate and leveled three accusations (23:2), each designed to frame Jesus as a threat to Roman authority.

The first charge, “subverting our nation,” was a general complaint implying that Jesus was disturbing the peace and stirring up civil unrest. The second and third charges were more directly related to Roman rule: Jesus, they claimed, forbade paying taxes to Caesar (a blatant fabrication; see Luke 20:25) and had declared himself to be the king over Israel. The final charge had an element of truth, but the religious leaders deliberately twisted Jesus’ claim into one that usurped Caesar’s earthly reign.

Pilate himself saw through the unjust accusations, but his repeated attempts to set Jesus free were to no avail. The farcical nature of the trial is one indication that Jesus’ suffering and death were those of an innocent and righteous man (Luke 23:47).

It Is Finished

The cross is about so much more than a man enduring pain and suffering; it is about so much more than a man being abandoned by his friends and family. The cross is about Jesus, the eternal Son of God, being forsaken by his Father.

Jesus, who had forever been one with the Father, was willing to come to earth and identify with sinners like us. He was even willing to become our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), so that on the cross he could die in our place. On the cross, the hellish punishment that we deserved was placed on him; he willingly endured God’s wrath in order to set us free.

“It is finished” — a simple sentence, made of only three simple words, but the significance of this sentence has eternal consequences for billions of people. When Jesus declared, “It is finished,” he indicated that his work of salvation was finished; that he had paid the full price for our sins.

The prophet Isaiah says of him, “You who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes people stagger” (Isaiah 51:17) — this is what Jesus did on the cross for everyone who believes in him. Our sins have been paid for, and the work of redemption is, gloriously, “finished”!

Article drawn from The Jesus Bible, NIV.

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