Today is a big day for Christians around the world! Today is Good Friday, the day we honor Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins, so we could be forgiven and reconciled with God! No one else in the history of the world has ever died for our sins. Only Jesus Christ was sacrificed for our sins and it is through faith in Jesus Christ alone that we are saved!
We have all been faced with death on a worldwide scale due to Coronavirus. All of us will take our last breath someday, whether we go from the virus or not, and we must be reconciled with God before we go. We must be forgiven of our sins and that is why Jesus had to die. The good news of the Gospel is that you can be forgiven and given eternal life through faith in Jesus! This Good Friday, I plead with you to seek Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and consider where you want to be for eternity when it’s your time to go. We all want to be forgiven and clean before God. We do not need to fear death! Jesus set us free from sin and death at the cross!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus speaking in John 3:16
That day, 1,987 years ago in 33 A.D., when Jesus was taken to Golgotha to be crucified, He had you on His mind and heart. He went to the cross knowing that God’s wrath would be poured out on Him for the sins of the world, yet still He went. He knew the torturous pain He would suffer, but He was willing to drink the cup the Father had given Him. He knew He had come to defeat satan, sin, and death, and nothing was going to stop Him! The night before, after the last supper and just before He was arrested, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There in the Garden, Jesus was in great anguish as He prayed about His coming crucifixion, yet He submitted to God’s will and willingly laid down His life.
“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
In Luke, it is recorded that Jesus was under such stress that He sweat blood. This is actually a medical reality where capillaries can break under extreme stress and the blood mixes with sweat. That is the intense anguish that Jesus was experiencing the night before His death. So much anguish that God even sent an angel to strengthen Him!
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
The next day, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha with two robbers on either side of Him. They mocked Him and beat Him and nailed Him to a cross and He suffered all of it for you and me! It was our sins that put Him there and He took our punishment for us!
“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”
The people mocking Him regarding the temple being destroyed were referring to the time when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple courts. Afterwards, He prophesied that they would kill Him (“destroy this temple”) and He would raise to life in three days. They did not understand that the “temple” He was talking about was Himself and that He would raise to life in three days after being crucified.
“Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
In Luke, we find that Jesus forgave those who crucified Him while He hung on the cross. One of the robber’s even had a change of heart just before His death and he chose to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior instead of mocking Him.
“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
I love that conversation between Jesus and the criminal who repented! That is how you repent! It clearly shows us and proves that when a person puts their faith in Jesus, that person will be accepted, forgiven, and saved by Jesus! That man was a criminal being punished for his crimes, but he confessed his sin and gave his soul to Jesus, and that very day he was with Jesus in Heaven! Don’t ever think you are too far gone to come to Jesus! He will forgive you and give you eternal life!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
Jesus speaking in John 5:24
That criminal on the cross was saved by God’s grace by simply and powerfully putting his faith in Jesus to save him! That very day hanging on the cross next to Jesus, he crossed over from death to life! He had been condemned to death as a criminal, but he died free and forgiven as a child of God!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
As Jesus died that day, several miraculous signs accompanied His death that are absolutely incredible! Last year I wrote a post titled, “The Darkness, The Torn Curtain, The Earthquake, & The Empty Tombs” where I explained how these events are even recorded by ancient historians. Please see that post for details.
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Amen! Jesus is the Son of God! He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! He is the Resurrection and the Life! His Blood is so powerful that it broke the tombs open and people were raised to life that very day, even before His resurrection on the third day! God caused darkness to cover the land and He shook the earth and split the rocks and all of this is recorded history! And most important of all, the curtain of the temple was torn in two! Through Jesus Christ, we can now approach God with freedom and confidence! We no longer need to offer sacrifices for our sins! Jesus entered Heaven by His own blood and sat down at the right hand of God! Jesus was the final sacrifice for sins once for all!
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
“He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Amen! I encourage you to draw near to God today! Come to Jesus and step through the curtain with freedom and confidence! Repent and cry out to Jesus like the criminal on the cross, and He will forgive you and receive you as His own! Your soul will be saved, and at your last breath you will be with Jesus in paradise!
Grace and peace to you all!