Ten words. Two biblical sentences. That’s enough to give you a solid foundation for your life.
They’re words that are pregnant with truth and power and grace. They summarize the the remedy for your greatest problem and the sure hope for lasting peace and joy.
What are they?
Of course they have to do with Jesus. In fact, both are tied up with the events we just celebrated during Easter week.
The first sentence comes from Jesus himself. It constitutes the last words the gospel of John records Jesus speaking on the cross before he died. And to understand their full significance, we have to revisit why Jesus was being put to death in the first place.
Jesus wasn’t hanging on the cross simply because he was a political problem, though various leaders considered him as such. Nor was he a blasphemer, the accusation leveled at him by the religious authorities. He wasn’t there mainly to provide an example of how to suffer. He was there as a sacrifice. With his death, he was satisfying the full and terrible wrath of a righteous and holy God against the sum total of his people’s sin. He was there to experience the punishment and death that we all rightly deserved. In short, he was there to pay our penalty so we wouldn’t have to.
After hours of suffering that far exceeded the literally excruciating physical pain, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Only then did give up his spirit.
What was his finished? His physical life (at least temporarily). The punishment he endured, to be sure. But not just that. If you’re someone who trusts in Jesus, then your punishment was finished as well. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, there is no sacrifice left to make, no more wrath to satisfy, no more punishment left to suffer. If you have faith in Christ, your sin and its consequences—your greatest problem by far—was conclusively dealt with, once and for all. The ledger was cleared.
The second sentence wasn’t spoken by Jesus, but rather about him. It came just a short time later, when the women who wanted to anoint Jesus’ body were confronted with an empty tomb. Two angelic messengers provided the explanation: “He is not here; he is risen!”
A tomb is obviously a place for the dead. But Jesus, who had quite clearly died, was alive again. And that fact demonstrated conclusively to the world that he was who he claimed to be: the Son of God and the Savior of all who would place their trust in him. The resurrection was the public declaration that God the Father was satisfied with his sacrifice for our sin. It signaled that God had brought redemption from suffering, that he had used our greatest evil to bring about our greatest good. It was a demonstration that Jesus has the power to defeat death itself. And it was a concrete picture of the sure hope his people may rest in: that they also will one day experience a transformed and eternal life. His life will be our life. That life, with him, is the very thing we were created for. It is the one thing that will finally—finally—satisfy us.
Just two sentences. Ten words. I want to remember those words and their significance every day of my life. Because they’re true. And they change everything.