This coming Sunday, Christians all over the world will be celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on what is traditionally called Easter Sunday. On that day, Born-Again Christians will pause to remember an event that, not only shook the world, but shook the very foundation of their own lives.
But before Resurrection Sunday could happen, there had to be a day that we now call, "Good Friday".
Good Friday - This is perhaps the most ironically named day in the history of the world.
What in the world was good about Good Friday?
* Early that first Good Friday morning, Jesus was betrayed by a disciple named Judas for thirty pieces of silver - there's nothing good about being sold out by someone close to you.
* Jesus was later arrested by Roman soldiers after Judas identified him with the "Judas kiss" - there's nothing good about being falsely arrested.
* Jesus was illegally tried in a mock hearing by the Jewish leaders of the day. - there's nothing good about being on trial in a kangaroo court.
* At that trial, false witnesses were brought in to accuse Jesus of things He never did - there's nothing good about being accused of crimes you did not commit.
* Finding Jesus "guilty", they handed Him over to Pontius Pilot, who turned Him over to King Herod, and was then sent back to Pontius Pilot - There's nothing good about being paraded around town and humiliated publicly.
* After Herod and Pilot found no claims to the crimes against Jesus, He was forced to wear a crown of thorns, He was beaten, tortured, and then whipped with a cat-o-nine tails to please the Jewish leaders - There's nothing good about being beaten, whipped and tortured to please anybody -
* After appealing to the people, Pontius Pilot released a criminal named Barrabus, and thus put in motion a sentence of crucifixion for Jesus - There's nothing good about a crucifixion -
* Led to a hill on Calvary, Jesus was laid down on a cross and 6" nails were driven through His hands and feet - BAM BAM BAM BAM - There's nothing good about being nailed to a cross.
* Hung between two criminals, Jesus endured the shame and the agony that was set before Him - There's nothing good about paying for a crime you did not commit.
* While on the cross, Jesus struggled to breath. Constantly pushing down on His legs to raise His body, Jesus battled asphyxiation caused by His own body weight - There's nothing good about dying a cruel suffocating death on a cross.
* At about the sixth hour of the day, Jesus cried out, "IT IS FINISHED" and died on the cross -
What in the world could be good about Jesus dying on a cross?
Nothing could be good about dying on a cross if it were you or me. But you or I did not die on that cross 2000 years ago...Jesus of Nazareth did.
So Who was Jesus...or to be more precise...Who is Jesus?
Jesus the Christ was fully God and fully man. Jesus was born of a virgin and was called Emanuel (God with us). Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life....never sinning in word, thought or deed; only God Himself could have done that.
Jesus is also called the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is called Mighty God. He is called Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End. He is called the Bread of Life. He is called the Living Water. He is called the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God.
Jesus is God -
You see, Jesus died a sacrificial death on that cross 2000 years ago for the sins of mankind.
In Old Testament times, a blood sacrifice had to be made for the sins you committed. A perfect animal, usually a young lamb, would be brought to the High Priest, and he would kill that lamb and, figuratively, lay your sins upon that animal.
What sins have you committed, ladies and gentlemen? Have you broken Gods Law; the Ten Commandments?
Are you guilty of the sin of lying, stealing, blaspheming the Name of God, adultery, idol worship, coveting, murder, not honoring your mother or father, and so on??
In the Old Testament times, this animal sacrifice was only temporary and was a shadow of something greater to come. That something greater would be a permanent sacrifice made by a perfect person: Jesus Christ.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave....."
Because God so loved mankind, He sent His son to die a horrible death. A death sentence from the Father Himself.
The Jewish leaders that found Jesus guilty, ultimately did not kill Jesus -
Pontius Pilot who ordered the crucifixion,ultimately did not kill Jesus -
The Roman soldiers that nailed Jesus to the cross, ultimately did not kill Jesus -
God Himself killed Jesus. The Bible says "It pleased God to crush His Son".
Why? Because that was the only way you and I could have our sins forgiven once and for all.
The death that Jesus died on that cross was a death that you or I couldn't die. Why? Because He lived a life you or I could never live. A perfect God-Man, Jesus, was sacrificed by a perfect God; perfectly.
God's full wrath of anger came upon Jesus Christ for the sins that you and I have committed. You see, God hates sin...but God loves His people. And the only way that we can be reconciled back to God is through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on that cross.
This is what theologians call the "Great Exchange"!
Jesus took the punishment for your sins upon Himself so you could have His righteousness. Because only through a right standing before God can you enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
That's why we call that Friday, Good Friday. It's a Good Friday because, as the Bible says, Jesus came to forgive His people of their sins!
But that's not the end of the story...three days later, after Jesus died on that cross, God raised Him from the dead. Jesus forever defeated death and had victory over the grave.
What now...what now that you have heard the gospel truth? How do you get in a right standing with God?
The Bible commands you to repent and put your trust and faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation.
What if I die in my sins you might ask..what will happen to me?
The Bible says that all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire; no thief, no adulterer, no blasphemer will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Either you are going to pay for your sins in a real place called Hell for all eternity, or you can repent and put your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Every day, 150,000 people die and slip off into eternity.
Make no mistake about it, everybody has eternal life...you either have eternal life in Heaven or eternal life in Hell.
God is patient...God is kind...God is long-suffering. But please, don't mistake the patience, kindness and long-suffering of God as a licenses to continue in your sins.
I promise you, the 150,000 people who died yesterday, thought they were going to live to see today. Just like you believe you are going to live to see tomorrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Easter is about so much more than a 3-day holiday...or hunting Easter Eggs...or going to church that one particular day of the year.
No, Easter is all about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said Himself that, He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life...and that no one goes to the Father but through Him.
He accomplished that way through what He did on the cross and His resurrection three days later.