We are approaching the most celebratory weekend in all of history: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, that forever shifted eternity. We call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday”. They beat, flogged, and nailed Jesus to a cross to suffer a painful death. His followers cried out as they saw the one who they thought would save them die. The promised Messiah was dead, and everyone lost all hope. This doesn’t sound like a very good Friday.
But it didn’t end there. What appeared to be the most devastating day in history became the greatest day in history. On the third day since his death, they found the tomb empty. No one had taken His body; he was, and is, alive.
He defeated the grave, conquered our sin, and set us free. Now that is a good Friday.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is significant. Without it we would be spiritually dead, broken, and hopeless, eternally separated from the God of love. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to make a way.
Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus was the only one who could pay our debt. He was the only sinless human to walk the earth, because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ: fully God and fully man. Had Jesus not paid our wage, we would still be carrying it. Jesus’ death meant we no longer are dead. He suffered physically and spiritually. He took on the wrath of God for us, so if we choose to believe in Him and follow Him, we will not be under that judgement.
How crazy good is our God?
As we dive into the significance of Jesus’ death for us, let’s look at one word that is probably familiar to you:
As you may know, our Bible was not originally written in English. Scholars have translated the Bible from the Greek. When we look at the meaning of words in the original language, we can often learn much more about what the passage is actually saying!
Salvation in the Greek language is the word “Sozo”. The definition of this word is “saved, healed, and delivered.” This means that not only did the death of Jesus save us, but it healed us. It delivered us.
If we look at the life of Jesus, this was consistent throughout all of his ministry. When He healed people’s physical bodies, he would restore them spiritually too.
For example, take the story in Mark chapter 2 of a paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus:
Then a paralytic was brought to Him, carried by four men. Since they were unable to get to Jesus through the crowd, they uncovered the roof above Him, made an opening, and lowered the paralytic on his mat.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the scribes were sitting there and contemplating in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
At once Jesus knew in His spirit that they were thinking this way within themselves. “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” He asked. “Which is easier: to say to a paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”
At that time, people believed that any type of sickness or disease was a direct result of sin in their or their family’s lives.
In John 9:2, we see this. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus then proceeds to heal the blind man.
Jesus comes and he not only forgives them. He heals them. He came not only to take sin, but also the consequences of sin.
What does that mean for us?
One word: empowerment.
In Matthew 28:18, following Jesus’ death and resurrection, He says, “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
When God made man, he gave man authority over the earth (Genesis 1:26), but man handed the authority over to the enemy, satan, when we sinned (Jn 14:30, Jn 12:31-32, Jn 16:11). What Jesus did was He took the authority back from Satan.
But it doesn’t stop there. The verse goes on to say:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus gets the authority back. Before he ascends to heaven, he gives it back to his followers, who’s sins are now covered, past, present, and future. He empowers us to live like Him— to go into the world and show them the salvation of Jesus– to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons (Matthew 10:8). Jesus commanded this—and Jesus’ death and resurrection has made it possible for us to do these things!
He empowers us to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be strengthened in persecution, and to lay down our lives for the gospel.
Jesus warned us before he went to be crucified that the world would hate us for following Him (John 15:18).
We will not suffer the wrath of God, but may suffer the wrath of man. However, this grace, gift of salvation, freedom, and life makes it all worth it.
Paul writes from prison:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Jesus is worth it. It is worth whatever it takes in order for His lost children to come home.
In 1732, two Moravian missionaries sold themselves as slaves in order to reach minister to the African slaves on islands in the Danish West Indies. As the boat was pulling away from the dock, The Moravian missionaries, who gave their life for the Gospel, were heard shouting to their loved ones “Oh that the Lamb that was slain would receive the reward of His suffering.”
Oh that we would be so in awe of Jesus and captivated by Him that we would go to whatever lengths necessary to bring Him the reward of his brutal suffering.
Jesus is worth it.
If you do not yet know Jesus, you can know Him. You can experience the freedom, wholeness, and life that he brings. Open up your heart to receive from Him today. Choose to make Him the Lord, surrender your life, and give Him your sin and shame. He already paid for you to be free; it’s your time to receive the free gift.
As we go into this Holy weekend, let’s reflect together. Let’s truly open our minds to the reality of this Gospel. Ask the Lord to make this come alive. Ask Him, “God, what does this gift of salvation truly mean?” It is a concept so simple yet so vast. So elementary, yet we may never understand the true depths of what the cross meant on this side of eternity. Grace so simple that we never truly grasp the unexplainable, unimaginable beauty of His sacrifice.