It is Finished!
There were soldiers that guarded Christ’s tomb. And for them this was not just “another day at the office,” because this time the death of the “Criminal” presented new problems: would the followers come to steal His body? Would He actually do what He said and come back to life? (I’m not so sure the officials really worried about this last possibility, do you?)
So the stone … and so the guards! Until…
Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Matthew 28:2-4 NLT
Jesus was already gone. He had risen, just as He had said!
And the guards accepted the bribe to deny the truth of it all. The tomb was empty! Jesus had finished the work the Father sent Him to do. He paid the price to reconcile the world unto Himself.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 NLT
So yes, it is FINISHED!
But why are so many of us believers “guarding an empty tomb,” trying to keep the shame of memories, regrets, sins of the past from impinging themselves on our present as if these offenses are still alive…and unforgiven?
As author Alicia Britt Chole has written,
“Guarding tombs is a joyless job, as anyone who has ever sought to keep the past from the future will attest….Is shame standing watch over any dead things in your life? Jesus died to forgive you — follow His example and forgive yourself. Fast guarding that tomb. Let an earthquake or an angel roll away the stone so that nothing is there anymore. It is empty. Jesus conquered it. Jesus removed it. All that there is now is light and hope…”
We are alive in Him because He lives. And yes, we are totally forgiven! Glory!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
“So rest weary soldier. Jesus’ tomb means that shame has no ground on which to stand.” (Alicia Britt Chole, 40 Days of Decrease, 211-212)