Here we are celebrating once again one of the most important Christian holidays, Good Friday, the day Christ was put to death on a cross. Of course we must have the cross before the resurrection, but what does the sacrifice of Christ’s blood on a cross mean to you and me?
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:45-50, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:44-46, (NASB).
Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30 (NASB).
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things. Luke 23:47-49, (NASB).
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:51-54, ( NASB).
Jesus’s death was not something special because the cross was the method used to kill Him. Many people had died hanging on a cross before and after His death. Sometimes whole families were killed by hanging on a cross. The cross was simply the execution method employed by the Romans at that time. Jesus wasn’t the only innocent person to die on a cross either. So what makes the crucifixion so important to Christians?
What moves me so about the death of Jesus began before His birth because He chose to come to Earth knowing that the cross awaited Him. What makes this death more important to me than the thousands of others that died on a cross is because Jesus didn’t have to come, it was His choice to do His Father’s will. His sacrifice of His blood and life on the cross ended all future animal sacrifices for sins committed by us. His death, burial and resurrection allows Gentiles like me to be grafted into the tree of life and the family of God. His blood ended my eternal separation from God that I would have surely suffered had He chosen not to come to the cross. He took my sins from me when I accepted Jesus into my heart and was buried in water through baptism and was raised a new creature in Christ. That is why the act of love that Jesus Christ went through on that Good Friday so long ago is so relevant and important to me today.
I am lost without Christ. You are lost without Christ. He paid the ultimate price for us and that is a debt we can never repay to Him. I have suffered and will suffer again in this life because the world which is made up of those still rebelling against God don’t understand the cross. They still see the cross as only a tool for executions. Satan doesn’t want to acknowledge what Christ did by dying, and three days later rose in victory over death because Satan understands the significance of the cross. Satan and his henchmen want to rebel against all good things and the cross was a good thing! They hate Christ and that is why they hate Christians and they use the people of the world to carry out their hatred.
This Easter weekend I hope that you can spend some time alone thinking about what the cross means to you. Is it just a method for death or is it a symbol of hope, the hope of eternity with God. As you gather with your family I hope you will enjoy your time and that you will celebrate with great joy because Christ overcame death for us and we have nothing to fear any longer if we are in Christ.
We have no reason to feel gloomy this Easter. No! We have every reason to celebrate with great joy and to share our joy with our family, our church family and our friends. Christ was victorious and in the end Satan loses, that’s the message of Easter. That is what Good Friday means to me. I am no longer bound up in sin and I no longer fear my own death because I know that this world is only my temporary dwelling place. As Jesus before me, I will also rise victorious and pass from this world into the arms of Jesus! That’s what Good Friday means to me.
Until next time…Katherine