Today is Good Friday.
I doubt our Lord Jesus Christ slept at all, seeing that He was carted throughout Jerusalem and tried several times, but by sunrise Jesus was cruelly mistreated by the Roman soldiers who ripped into His head with a crown of thorns and lashed into His flesh 39 times with a whip with metal hooks at the tips.
Severely tortured, God's Son was forced to carry the two beams that formed a cross as far as He could make it outside of the city until it was put on a bystander. With crowds jeering, and soldiers shoving, Jesus made it to the place where He would be crucified. Golgotha (Aramaic). Calvary (Latin).
But He made it to a place that was flat. And perhaps just maybe He could lie down. Yet once He did, at roughly 9:00 AM our Lord's hands and feet were hammered to the cross.
On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who carried this out. He told a thief who was crucified with Him, that for his faith in Jesus, "Today, you shall be with Me in paradise."
At 12:00 Noon, the sky turned black as the Father turned from our LORD in judgment of our sins. Jesus was truly alone. His prayers typically began with the intimate name, Father, our Heavenly Father, but now He shouts,
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?!"
It's bone chilling.
Just before 3:00 PM, Jesus cried out, "It is finished."
Then in an act of intimate trust in the Father's faithful love, though the Father had turned away in judgment for our sins, our Lord said, "Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit." And He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.
At that moment, the veil in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, that which separated man from God's holy of holies has been rendered in half by Jesus' death. The earth shook, rocks split, tombs broke open, and the bodies of select holy people who had died were raised to life.
When the Roman centurion in charge that day saw sky and the earthquake and all that had happened, believed and confessed Jesus is the Son of God.
As for anyone who then or now trusts Jesus to bring them to God, because of this day and Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross and on your behalf—YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. YOU ARE FORGIVEN.
On this day in history, everything that stood in the way of you and and eternally living with God was taken care of on the cross.
This sober story makes it clear, it's not because you deserve it, you atoned for your sins, made things right with God, or you don't sin anymore.
This horrific scene has one central figure, and it's not you or me. It is Jesus Christ. And the central symbol here is the cross on which your Savior died.
This day and every day, it is about Jesus Christ carrying out the Father's will on your behalf. Jesus on the cross. Jesus being condemned. Jesus the righteous, the innocent, the lamb of God taking away the sin of the world.
I don't know if this year is different, but on Good Friday many Christians try to do holy things, fast, sacrifice, abstain from certain pleasures, kind of keep the somber feel all day. That's fine. But don't take any focus off of Jesus.
For here's one thing Good Friday shows us, that God does not expect anything of you, right now.
God doesn't expect you to make any promises that you'll stop doing what you're doing or that you'll get things right between you and God or that you'll not enjoy the day in suffrage with Christ.
No. He wants you to look to Jesus and believe. So, HEAR the good news and BELIEVE,
Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… 8 God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The helpless, the ungodly, sinners... Good Friday reminds us that we are all part of that group. You cannot make myself good enough and I can't make myself godly enough.
Yet Good Friday makes all of this irrelevant.
Jesus' death on the cross tells us to stop trying! and to believe the good news that God sent His Son to save the lost. Jesus Christ died to reconcile you to God.
Believe and be saved.
For those who don't know God's love in Christ, I encourage you not to argue, "O I'm a good person and I really don't do any really bad things."
The beautiful truth is, JESUS didn't do any bad things!! But we do, yet the cross tells us, God took care of it for us!
HEAR the good news and BELIEVE,
Romans 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us,…
"So what, God just passes over our sins now, and we go scot-free?"
No. Look at the cross. God never just passes over sin!
If God was going to pass over anyone, it would have been His Beloved Son. Yet sin is so wrong to a loving God, that He judged and condemned Jesus on our behalf, just for wearing our sins!
With the crucifixion of His Son, God answered so many questions, including:
Is man truly sinful? Yes!
Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way...
Is there anything we can do to save ourselves? No, there's nothing we can do! Except to hear the good news and believe,
Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way. But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
The cross doesn’t say, "It doesn't matter, there's nothing wrong, God accepts you just as you are." The cross says, "God mounted up the fullness of His justice which our sins deserved, and poured out His wrath in fullest measure on Jesus Christ His beloved Son." Jesus died in your place for your salvation.
So hear the good news and believe,
Colossians 1:21 Although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy, blameless, and beyond reproach!
And no God doesn't just pretend we're holy or righteous. We are truly righteous on account of Good Friday. We are truly righteous through faith in Jesus Christ who reconciled you to the Father.
When He bore your punishment, the veil that separated imperfect people from a perfect God, unholy people from a holy God, normal people from the special God our Creator was torn in half from the top down signifying this was God's doing, not ours.
The new veil, the open door to God's embrace, the Way to the Father is Jesus who grants the believer open access to God and His love and every gift of His grace both in this life and in the life to come.