Here, on the cusp of Easter weekend, we anticipate hearing the greatest message of all, but we first start with the most painful part: Good Friday and the remembrance of Christ's crucifixion. How could such a day ever be called good, right?
At first blush we wonder at the thought, until we know what Sunday brings . . . the best news ever. But for now, we wait in anticipation and contemplate the suffering our Savior chose on our behalf.
As we have journeyed through 40 days of prayer together during this Lenten season, we have discovered afresh how we ought to pray and arrive on Good Friday at one of Christ's final prayers spoken before He breathed His last. "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” The One Who paid for all of the sins of those crucifying Him prayed for them even in that moment. You are loved greatly, friends.
Right as he was bring crucified, He thought of our need for forgiveness. What mercy. What grace. Could we pray the same way?
Maybe some reading this don't understand why Christ had to die. Christ did not have to. He chose to. Because we had to have our sins covered, with joy our God came and took our place. Every bit of suffering and sorrow was heaped on him so we could be forgiven. And He prayed from us even in the midst of such pain.
You see, even if you don't see your need, you still need salvation. In Romans 6:23 it says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Our sin brings a high cost. And no animal sacrifice or person could every bear all of our sins one time—except God.
God came to restore our relationship with Him because He loves us so much. No matter what you are going through right now, God can restore your soul and restore our identity. We were made in the image of God and made to know and enjoy Him forever. This is not religion, but faith and relationship with our Creator.
You are loved more than you could ever grasp or understand by Jesus, who willingly chose to die on a rugged cross for your sins. One of our brothers in our church, Michael Nieman, shared his testimony this past week (part 1) of how he was once an atheist and became a Christian miraculously. Listen in to the interview here.
This weekend, may we with fresh eyes look at what Christ accomplished on the cross as He died and rose again. And may we walk in the freedom of forgiveness, in answer to one of His final prayers before He gave His life on our behalf.