Jesus said, “There is none good except God,” so the revelation of “good” comes through the manifestation of God. We witness His goodness through the gift of His Son whose death and resurrection is celebrated this special weekend. The scriptures clearly proclaim that God is not only good, but He is love. Herein is love, not that we love Him, but that He first loved us. We love Him because He loves us and this love was clearly expressed through the Lamb of God who died to free us from the guilt and eternal consequences of our sins.
In a day when we face serious challenges through deadly natural disasters, fires in Texas and California, floods in the north and east, earthquakes, tsunamis and wars around the world, we rightly ask: how can this ever work for good? Keep in mind, God says, “All things work together for good,” not for everyone, but, “to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” God never says “all things are good.” He is good. Love is good. God is great! All things work together for good for those who love Him because they have accepted His love into their lives. When our focus is on Him and His purpose, we will be shaped by the power of His presence rather than conformed to this world. We will watch with amazement the good that can be worked during times that appear hopeless. Joseph discovered that what the enemy intended for evil, God worked for good. This is because he loved God and submitted to His will.
If we’re not centering our lives on Him, then the pressures, difficulties and bad things that happen in this fallen world just add to the confusion and sense of hopelessness, because you cannot see potential purpose in it. Those who don’t love God continue to make bad decisions and tend to blame bad things on Him. As a result, they never see the great heavenly Father work anything, much less all things for good. In a world filled with conflict, it is important to learn we will never lift ourselves up by putting others down. If we love God with all our heart, we will love others properly and will not try to pit them against one another.
As we remember the tragic event that occurred on “Good Friday,” our human perspective makes us wonder how the word “good” could ever apply. Good Friday represents one of the darkest moments in human history and yet it provides the brightest light for all mankind because on Easter Sunday we celebrate the message of hope and promise through Jesus Christ! Our Redeemer lives! Our Father God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him and no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf!
As we gratefully consider the sacrifice God made for us in giving His one and only Son to die on the Cross, our hearts should be deeply moved. Too often, this is not the case. It seems some fail to understand the price that was paid for each of us and the life available through the sacrifice made. The first time that the death of Jesus struck a meaningful chord in my own heart, I was a young teenager. As a boy with little opportunity and encouragement, I was impacted by the love of God demonstrated through the suffering of Christ. All I had ever heard about the traits and character of Jesus was praiseworthy and admirable.
I heard how Simon helped carry the cross. When I thought of Jesus stumbling beneath the weight of the cross after being beaten and weakened, tears welled up in my eyes and I thought, “I wish I could have helped carry the cross.” I do believe that somehow in my life that desire has been fulfilled for I have been able in many ways to take up the cross daily and follow Him by joyfully caring for others. Throughout my life I have experienced difficult times and without the power and strength offered through a resurrected Christ, I could have lived a life of dismal failure.
By receiving Jesus and truly falling in love with Him, I continually watch God work all difficulties and challenges for good and for His glory. Jesus truly took our sin and our shame. He took the penalty we never could have paid. It has been said that Jesus endured the anguish of hell because He loved us so much He did not want to be in heaven without us. Only God could love so much that He would give His only Son to take the pain and punishment for the sin of the world.
It is sad that so few people outside the Christian community are touched by the passion of Christ. Wickedness pounded Him fiercely in the scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails piercing His sacred hands, and hanging between two thieves crying out to His father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I cannot understand how that does not bring every person to their knees with gratitude for such love.
The fact, however, that Jesus asked His father to forgive His aggressors because they did not comprehend what they were doing is a clear indication they were under the power of sin and deception. Those who reject His love and sacrifice are truly held in the grasp of bondage that can only be broken by the power that raised Jesus from that grave on the first Easter. Jesus died for us, but He was raised to live in us. He has sent His Holy Spirit to create in our hearts the same spirit that filled His life. This Jesus who died now lives to express His very nature through us. I believe that far more people would come to this living Christ if they could see believers more yielded to the attributes and qualities that characterized His life on earth. He wants to release His love, mercy and forgiving power through every professing Christian.
It is my prayer that those who honor Him during this Easter weekend will honor Him every day of the year by receiving the sufficiency of His death and the forgiveness He offers at this very moment. I pray that all of us will allow His life to be expressed through us. Christ in us is truly the hope of glorifying and magnifying God as the wonderful Father that He is.
We need far more than the recognition of a holiday. We need to receive what God has offered and submit to His purpose in our lives. May the Jesus who died and was raised come alive in the hearts of all who have not yet believed and may those of us who believe become living demonstrations of the power of His death and resurrection. Those who receive the gift emphasized on this special day will witness God “working all things together for good.”