As a child I remember thinking it so strange that the day commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion was called “Good Friday” when it was a day of such pain for Jesus.At services every Good Friday I heard preaching on the words of Jesus from the cross and was aware of the agony He suffered at the hands of sinful men and women. However, I admit at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal that one person would die so that many could be saved.
It wasn’t until I was a middle-aged adult that I truly realized that Good Friday is not just a “good” day, but also the most pivotal day in my life and all of history.It is the day that I was released from the penalty of my sin; the day Jesus took on the death that should have been mine, and all of mankind’s.
David Platt, pastor of Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, Alabama, states in “The Cross and Suffering”:
- Everything “ultimately points to Good Friday.
- Everything before the cross points forward to it.
- Everything since the cross points back to it
- Everything that will last was purchased on it.
- Everything that matters hinges on it.”
The cross was God’s plan even before He created the world.(1st Peter 1: 18-20) In His infinite wisdom and knowledge, God knew when He created mankind that we would rebel against Him, a holy God.Yet, in His infinite mercy He had already prepared the way for us to be redeemed and brought back into fellowship with Him.
How amazing is the love of God! When you wonder if God really loves you, I encourage you to look to the cross and see Jesus’ outstretched arms! I believe you will hear in your spirit as I do, “This is how much I love you—I gave my very life for you!”
Don’t you think He must look at us when we grumble and complain and question whether He really loves us, “How can you doubt my love for you? You deserved hell and damnation and yet I willingly gave up the glories of heaven to come to earth; endured an excruciatingly painful death on the cross in your place; took on the penalty of all of your sins; overcame death; and purchased for you the power to overcome sin, and yet, you doubt my love for you?” Romans 8:32 tells us, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Unlike every other religion in which a person has to do something to earn the favor of their god, the centrality of Christianity is that we did nothing and can do nothing to earn God’s magnificent, amazing love. Romans 5:8 tells us the good news that, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The only work that God asks of me and of you is that we believe in Jesus and whatHe did for us, and put our trust in the finished work He accomplished for us on the cross. (See John 6:29)If we truly believe that God created us, knows us best, and loves us so much that He gave His very life for us, won’t we also trust Him with every aspect of our lives? Won’t we believe that the words and instructions for living, which He gave to us in the Bible, are also all for our good?
This Easter season—and every season of your life—I want to encourage you that you can indeed ”Trust the Man Who died for you!”
Written by Julie Van Gorp