Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good Friday???

In a few weeks we'll celebrate Good Friday.  I know it seems a bit strange to label the day Jesus was brutally beaten and killed as "good." After all, it was a moment that Jesus asked the Father to spare Him from if it was at all possible. Of course, it was the only way to redeem lost man, so Jesus followed through with the plan. A plan that would require an innocent man to be arrested, mocked, ridiculed, beaten, abused, whipped, nailed to a cross, and ultimately killed. And we call that "good."

Good, because we know what it all meant. At least what it all meant for us. The "good" was what it meant for us. Redemption, restoration, salvation, and much more. It was a moment in time where the mercy, grace, and love of God met at the same point with the justice, and judgment of God. We being the recipients of His mercy, grace, and love and Jesus being the recipient of His justice, judgment, and wrath. Its the point where God poured out the punishment for sin and Jesus agreed to take that punishment for us.

Scripture tells us that He became our sin. Is it any wonder, God had to turn His back on Him? Jesus became the very thing God hated. Think about that for a minute. Jesus, who is God, became the very thing God hates. God, Himself, became something He hates in order to rescue what He loves. We've all seen Hollywood try to illustrate what happened that day, and I believe none of their attempts come close. Sure, Mel Gibson's, "Passion of the Christ," probably is the closest, but even with all its detail of the crucifixion, it still falls short. There is so much going on at this point in time besides a crucifixion. Our sin, all of it, was carried to that cross that day. From Hitler's inhumanity, to our little white lies. Every murderer, adulterer, pedophile, liar, thief, gossip, or drunk. Every abusive parent, rebellious child, or uncompassionate, unloving, selfish person. Jesus became that sin! Ponder that for a moment. Jesus became all of that sin. It brings a great deal more understanding as to why God the Father, couldn't stand to look at Him.

The wages of sin is death. The payment, punishment, and judgement of sin is death. All of us have sinned. Every single one of us fit into that category of deserving death. But God stepped in with His grace, mercy, and love. He came in the flesh and became sin so that He himself could take on our punishment of death. Isaiah tells us that, it pleased the Father to bruise Him. It pleased God for Jesus to be crucified. That's sounds a bit odd, without knowing the whole story, but when you know what all was going on that day, you understand very well why it pleased the Father. Redemption, restoration, and salvation was made available to us all that day, because of what Jesus did. Because, Jesus, who is God, submitted his eternal, immortal self to death as a man, mankind could once again have the eternal life he was designed to have.

I'm sure the disciples thought that crucifixion day was anything but "good." But on that resurrection day can you imagine what type of emotions stirred in them all? Every doubt, every question, every tear was gone in an instant as they realized it was all true. Everything He said he was and everything He said he would do, had to have come racing back to them as they stood at the door of that empty tomb. That sin he took on Himself, He shed, having never sinned himself, and in an instant God raised Him from the dead. For the disciples, all the pieces of the puzzle came together that day, as they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the man they had dropped everything to follow, had dropped everything to save each one of them. He was indeed the Messiah the world had long awaited for and His salvation was available to all.

It was at that very moment, I think they all realized how "good" that crucifixion day really was. We have grown up celebrating this day as "Good Friday!" Many workers just see it as another day off, while many retailers see it as another day to make some money. For the believer though, who understands what happened on that day some 2000 years ago, he/she sees it for what it really is...."Good Friday!"

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