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Easter Service (2012)

Mike Connell

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In other words, He gave a mighty victorious shout that He had won a great battle! He had won a great battle. It was a shout - when Jesus died, two things the Bible tells us: one, He shouted a shout of victory; and two, He let go His spirit. He let go. He gave up His life. It was never taken from Him. He had power to do that, something you and I don't have. So it was a shout of victory. Why was it a shout of victory? Because Jesus knew something, that no one else around there knew, and all the demonic powers did not know. If they'd known, they would never have crucified Him. He knew something they did not know. He knew that He was acting as a representative of all humanity; for centuries upon centuries upon centuries, thousands of years, people had been born, had lived and died; born, lived, died; generation after generation, suffering the impact of the first man's sin, and no one could do anything to stop it. When Jesus came, He came to represent what God is like, the love of God, and the heart of God. Then when He died on the cross, He took with Him to the cross our sins and failures. He also took to the cross the list of every fault and failure and sin that was listed against us.

The Bible says in Colossians 2:14, it says: He took the handwriting, the list of every law of God that we ever broke. He took the list of everyone, everything you've done in your past, have done today, will do later today, will do in the future - everything wrong in the whole span of your life, and the life of every other person; He took it all, and nailed it to the cross. And the Bible says in Colossians 2:14: when Jesus took that list and put it on the cross, He disarmed every principality and power. He took from the devil his power to hold you in bondage. If you're in bondage, it's your choice that's causing it. If you're in bondage, it's your beliefs that's causing it. If you're in bondage, it's your habits that's causing it. It's not because God hasn't made a way for you.

When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible says: He disarmed; He took away from every demon the right, the power, the authority, the privilege, the ability to oppress you with sickness, disease and torments. He disarmed them, literally took away their power, and you and I have to understand that's why He shouted out: great victory; because He knew in a moment of time, as He let go His life, He had represented humanity before God, and now He offered the sacrifice of His life; the devil's power to hold everyone in bondage was now broken. So His shout was a shout of victory.

Now we know not only that. We know that when God has his hand on something, He demonstrates it usually with some form of power manifestation. I want you to notice the things that happen, distinct things that happen, because most of us understand the cross. We don't understand the things that happened around it. Notice the first thing that happened was that the earth shook. There was a massive earthquake the moment Jesus died. That was not a coincidence. That was God - heaven was opening up, and God was saying: this sacrifice that Jesus has offered, on behalf of all men, is acceptable to me, and so He shook earth.

Now I don't know if you've been down in Christchurch, you know what earthquakes are like, but usually when you get a fairly massive earthquake, when you get a massive earthquake - people freak out. They freak out. They start screaming, running, yelling. Now this earthquake was strong enough to shatter rocks. It was big enough to shatter rocks. Now that's got to be a sizeable earthquake, to cause rocks to shatter. So I want you to picture yourself there, that Jesus - the Bible tells us there was a darkness over the land, an unusual darkness. There was no explanation for it. There was darkness over the land from 12 midday, the brightest time of the day normally; darkness, total darkness right over the land from 12 until 3.00pm; and then the moment Jesus died, immediately as He gave this great shout of victory over the devil, and all his works on behalf of man, God responded with a power demonstration from heaven, and four things happened; number one, there was a massive earthquake. Number two, it was so strong, that rocks just shattered and broke. I understand that the remains of some of those rocks are there to this day. The third thing that happened was, God took the temple veil, and He literally tore it - notice it says: from top to bottom, it was ripped open. Now the veil was a very, very thick curtain, that kept ordinary people out from the presence of God; and so in the temple, only a priest could go into the holy place once a year, and so at this time of the year, this very time, the priest would have gone in there to that holy place, to offer a sacrifice on behalf of the nation. Normally he would not be seen. No one would see. No one was allowed there. It was death to go there, and suddenly it's ripped completely open; and what had never been seen before, was seen. God was announcing to the world: by the death of my Son, I made it possible for every person to access me. Every person can have a relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and what He did. Every person can access the presence of God. Every person can come personally to God. There's no need for someone to come on our behalf.