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Sunday, March 29, 2015

03292015 - Palm Sunday - Sixth Sunday in Lent - "It is finished!!" - "Calvary Answers for me!"

Palm Sunday Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

March 29, 2015
Jesus work is done!
Gracious Lord!  With the words, “It is finished!” it was not about a painting, planting or harvesting, but that Your time on earth was complete.  In those words Your Son Jesus Christ finished the work of salvation.  Not just simple salvation, but the offer of grace for all of mankind that radically changed life as we know it for all of us.  For in those words, Jesus signaled the end of His earthly humiliated life, but in three days the beginning of His life of triumph that we receive with our entrance into His Kingdom.  May we look at Palm Sunday as one more point on and step in the journey to the Cross that emphasizes the offer of eternal life for all of mankind, but especially all of us gathered here this morning who have heard and believed, “Calvary Answers for Me!”  AMEN.

When the choir came together and began practicing many weeks ago, we all had a deep sense of purpose and desire to allow our collective voices proclaim the Easter message.  Then the song, “Calvary Answers for Me!” was introduced by Marla and Scott and all of us were deeply moved and touched, not only by the lyrics, but the message.  Once it was decided we would sing the song, it became a question of when?  It is very appropriate for after Easter, but for we who gather today on Palm Sunday it is even more appropriate to not only hear, but proclaim as we look to this Holy Week, “Calvary Answers for Me!”.

On our journey during the season of Lent we have been listening to the Word’s of Jesus from the Cross of Calvary.  And today after celebrating Jesus entrance into Jerusalem as the “King of King and Lord of Lords” we now with the chorus from the choir ringing in our ears of “Calvary Answers for Me!” hear Jesus words, “It is finished!”  We look from this side of Good Friday and see the pain and clear anguish that Jesus feels on the Cross of Calvary.  With a blood soaked back from the lashes and beatings, a brow that is pierced by the thorns from the crown of thorns pushed on His head by the soldiers.  To the now pierced hands and feet that are nailed to the Cross.  Jesus Christ having endured in the last 18 hours more torture and pain than most could utters these three words “It is finished!” that have divine implications.

It is finished!” could mean, that Jesus is about ready to tear Himself down from the Cross.  But if Jesus came down from the Cross on His own, then why would He have allowed Himself to be crucified in the first place?  This does not make sense.

It is finished!” could mean that Jesus is giving up.  He has lost all hope.  When nothing that anybody could do could have an impact upon Him or His circumstances.  But this would have the eternal implication that Satan has won the eternal battle and Jesus Christ is not God!  This is definitely not true!

Or “It is finished!” could mean, death is eminent for Jesus Christ Who is nailed to the Cross.  This meaning in fact is what is spot-on.  Jesus is about to breath His last, but “It is finished!” has a much deeper meaning for us here today.  When Jesus Christ uttered those three words, the implication was that Jesus had fully completed His Work that He came to accomplish.  Jesus Christ had not only fully and completely done the job He was sent by His Father in Heaven to accomplish.  The job Jesus Christ came to accomplish had divine implication.  Jesus Christ came to suffer in order to set each and every one of us free from sin, death and the devil.  Jesus work is done!

But even though Jesus work is done, Jesus words, “It is finished!” is to remind us that Jesus work has divine implication for we who gather here today.  The divine implication is that Jesus with “It is finished!” has made it so our baptism and celebration of Holy Communion impart the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation to each and every one of us.  When Jesus uttered those words from the Cross, the message was not only about His eminent death on the Cross, but the gift of grace, mercy and salvation He was offering all who believe and receive these sacramental gifts from Him.

For it is through our receipt of the gift of grace in Holy Baptism and Jesus Christ Precious Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper that we are surrounded by the love of God and intimately connected to the gift of divine grace offered for each and every one of us.  And these three words, “It is finished!” are the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the sundae, the exclamation point of Jesus life.  When Jesus uttered these words, “It is finished!” Jesus was on the mountain top proclaiming “Salvation has come for all of mankind!”

In the movie, “To End All Wars” there is a scene that depicts something similar to these final moments of Jesus life on the Cross.  From a prisoner of war camp, Japanese soldiers have declared Major Campbell one of their captives’ guilty and deserving death for having a Bible, a picture of Jesus and teaching others about his faith.  When the sentence was read for his execution, one of the men from the group who had been learning about Jesus stepped forward to volunteer to take the leaders place.  Dusty, a mere infant in the faith after having heard what Jesus Christ did on Calvary was attempting to emulate his Hero, Jesus Christ Who spoke the simple words with divine implication, “It is finished!

Today, our Lenten journey is coming to a close with our celebration of Palm Sunday, looking forward to Maundy Thursday and the institution of the Lord’s Supper and culmination on Good Friday with Jesus final words we have heard today, “It is finished!”  Jesus journey is nearly complete but His offer for all of mankind of salvation will never end.  For the offer of salvation, Jesus taking our place is what Jesus came to complete and fulfill for all of mankind.  And this includes each and every one of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who hear and believe “Calvary Answers for Me!” with Jesus final words “It is finished!”  AMEN.

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