This weekend marks one of the most tragic and triumphant moments in human history. On a hill shaped like a skull, the Son of God hung on a cross between two thieves. Satan surely thought he was witnessing God’s greatest defeat, but he was witnessing his own ultimate destruction and the possibility for those dead in trespasses in sin to come alive now and forever.
Jesus died that we may live. He paid the price and shouldered the entire load of all our sins. The day referred to as Good Friday was truly “better than good,” as Zig Ziglar says. Jesus, the mediator between God and man, made it possible for us to experience abundant life now and eternal life forever.
As Jesus looked out from the cross at the very ones who had spit in His face, forced a crown of thorns on His head, twisted His beard and ripped it out, scourged Him with 39 lashes and drove the spikes into His hands, He prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
How could such merciful words come from one who was experiencing the most painful form of death? Because He knew the truth: They did not know what they were doing. The god of this world had blinded the eyes of the unbelievers and they were held captive by Satan’s power. Jesus prayed forgiveness on their behalf.
I was also there, as one to whom He offered forgiveness. All of us were there and our sins contributed to every aspect of His death. He accepted the wages of sin, which He never earned, that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins, which we never deserved. It is grace! It is mercy! It is God and His love revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Max Lucado shared this truth concerning Jesus: “Christ lived the life we could not live and took the punishment we could not take to offer the hope we cannot resist.” May God help us to pray with the same compassion and mercy toward those who are in bondage to the prevailing power of darkness in our world.
I am so thankful for that merciful moment when Jesus died 2,000 years ago. It was because of this gift that we can experience the greatest gift: life itself. On Sunday, people around the world will celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ on that first Easter morning. As the song says, “Up from the grave He arose.” And because of His resurrection, we can experience the triumphant life He freely offers.
It is my prayer that this will be more than the celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection. I’m praying this weekend will be the beginning of new life, with all things new in Him. Through faith in Jesus, we can experience the power of the resurrected Lord living in us. He offers forgiveness and the opportunity to live in fullness and fruitfulness for the rest of our lives.
Jesus is the way. He is alive. Forgiveness and life are available because He died that we might live. He conquered death and is alive to live in us. May we, with yielded hearts and open minds, pray, “Thy will be done.”