Friday, March 25, 2016

Today is the day

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8
Today is Good Friday.  This is the day that Christ actually died on the cross.  Every year I think about that on this day.  I try to envision and imagine how he was treated and what he went through.  I cannot bear to think about it.  Then at 3:00 pm, which is about the time they believe that he actually died, I concentrate on that being the exact time that Jesus died – for me.  To me, this is the holiest of all days.  This day is symbolic of all we believe as Christians, the premise on which our foundation is built.  This is the day that He literally laid down His life for us. 
He had been up all night, tortured and beaten, exhausted.  He was betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities (perhaps after midnight, early Friday morning) and put on trial where the crowds shouted “crucify him!!”  He had to carry his cross all the way to the hill where He was crucified.  Then He was nailed to that tree and had to hang there for three hours before he finally died, all the while being taunted and ridiculed.  He was thirsty and given vinegar to drink.  I cannot fathom the suffering and pain He endured during those three miserable hours.  What was He thinking?  What was going through His mind as He hung there?  I know that I would be seriously rethinking this commitment I had made. But Jesus did not change his mind in the midst of his suffering.  He didn’t “quit”.  He fulfilled the scriptures so that we could have eternal life. 
So, 'What happened on Good Friday?' The goodness of Jesus's love and sacrifice at Calvary is immense, permanent, and priceless. It is inseparably connected to His life on earth before that, and to His Resurrection. What happened is part of a longer story that involves all humanity and the chosen people in particular, and it is part of a more-than-human setting that involves Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because they were all fulfilled in Him. 
The Earth Trembled And The Veil Was Torn
In the temple a veil, a very thick, woven curtain, separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple.  When Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, that heavy curtain was torn from top to bottom. It was not ripped from bottom to top, as though a man were ripping it. Instead, it was ripped from top to bottom, because God was ripping it.  God was saying, “You no longer are on the outside. You can come in. My Son has made a way for you.”
Also at this moment, the whole earth shook. Many ancient prophets became alive again. Many people saw them.  The way that Jesus behaved in court and on the cross, was humble.  When the Roman officer there saw this, and the other events, he said, ‘Surely, this man was the Son of God.’
I encourage you to really think about the day and what it means for you.  Don’t let it go without a thought.  Consider what He did for you this day so many years ago.  Consider what Good Friday and Easter mean for all of us. 

Scripture to Claim:
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.  Matthew 27:51

Devotional Archive