What’s so good about Good Friday?

What’s so good about someone dying?
What’s so good about being nailed on a cross?
What’s so good about being humiliated in front of hundreds, if not, thousands?

I met Tim the other day. He didn’t grow up religious and never went to church. But as I’ve realized through the years, the gospel is the most logical solution to the problem of sin.

Good works won’t work because we’ll never know how much is enough to make it.
Punishing ourselves won’t work because we can only tolerate pain up to a certain extent and give up before it’s ever enough.
Merely saying sorry is also not enough for a holy and just God requires payment for the penalty of sin.

When the first Good Friday happened, Jesus declared in Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why did Jesus feel forsaken by the Father?

It was at that circumstance that all of the sin of mankind was placed on Him. “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus felt forsaken for at that moment, it seemed that there was a separation from the Father for sin cannot be in the same presence of a holy and rigtheous God.

Thus, to the person who trusts Christ for salvation experiences a miracle. Our unrighteousness was placed on Christ and His righteousness placed upon us. This work of imputation is nothing short of miraculous. At that particular time, the greatest exchange happened – an unfair yet amazing one.

All these I explained to Tim. His response?
“Wow, it all make sense to me now! This is indeed good news! In fact, it’s great news! My sin upon Him and His righteousness upon me. Who doesn’t want that? Quite an amazing deal if you’d ask me.”

As a result, after an understanding of the gospel of Jesus, he responds by turning away from sin and fully surrendering his life to Christ as his Lord and Savior.

And to all who hasn’t surrendered their lives yet, today can be your day of salvation. What’s so good about Good Friday? His death provided a way for us to gain life. The Great Exchange occurred on Good Friday – His righteousness upon us and all our unrighteousness upon Him as we respond in faith by trusting Christ for our salvation.

If this is the desire of your hear, you can pray this prayer by faith, receive His forgiveness and experience the new life He offers to everyone who believes:

Lord, thank You for coming to die on the cross. I understand that You died so that the penalty of sin can be paid for. I repent from all my sins and trust Christ for forgiveness. He died so that I may have life. Today, I respond to His love for me. I surrender my past, my sins, my unrighteousness and by faith receive the righteousness of Christ offered to me through His work in Calvary. Help me to live for you from this day forward, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life that would please and honor God. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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Most will acknowledge that they have offended a holy and righteous God.
Many realize that they haven’t lived a perfect life.
And hordes will admit that they displeased their Creator.

But here’s a question many ask:
Can God not just grant divine amnesty and declare,
“By My authority, I now give you divine pardon!”

Did Jesus really have to come, become like one of us and die a torturous death on the cross?

Some of you might remember, there was a time when the people of God were held in captivity under the rulership of the Egyptians. God always wanted a people of His own but because they were under slavery, they weren’t their own nation.

God was calling them out through Moses but Pharaoh didn’t want to let His people go. To convince Pharaoh that it was He who was calling them out, He had to send 10 plagues to communicate to Pharaoh that Yahweh is the Lord. The last plague was the plague of the first born where all the first born was going to be visited by the angel of death.

But God’s instruction to His people was to get a lamb, cook it as their meal.
Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 9.03.11 AMHowever, they are to take the blood and wipe it on the doorposts of their homes so that when the angel of death comes, it will recognize the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. As a result, the angel of death will “passover” their home.

It was the last straw that caused Pharaoh to release God’s people from the clutches of the Egyptian hands. From that time on, it became an annual celebration meal of God’s redemption. You could just imagine the first born during that very first Passover meal thinking,

“The only reason I’m alive is because that thing on the table (the lamb) isn’t.”

Fast forward about 1500 years later, Jesus was having a Passover meal with His disciples. He took the bread and the cup, gave thanks and distributed them to His disciples. The meal was complete except for one thing – the lamb. They were probably thinking, “we have the bread and the wine, but where’s the lamb?”

And here’s the clincher:
“The lamb was not on the table for The Lamb was at the table.”

It was the night before Jesus was going to be crucified.

Why did Jesus have to die?

1. Sin’s payment was death. Sin is a capital offense. For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid for our death so we can live.

2. Only a perfect sacrifice can pay the penalty. Only Jesus could fulfill this since He was both fully human yet fully God. The sacrifice had to be a perfect, unblemished, sinless sacrifice.
God made Him (Christ), who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

3. A Holy God cannot allow sin go unpunished.
Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe to save a people who owed a debt they couldn’t pay.

That’s why when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he declared, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” This sacrifice no longer just covers our sins, He is able to completely wash it away.

All we need to do is to trust His atoning work in Calvary.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

This is a reason to rejoice!
This propels us to worship!
This truth will result in a life of gratitude!

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I’ve often wondered about this growing up.

If Jesus died on that particular day, then why would that be good?

On a side note, this is not a blog about whether or not it really happened on a Friday. It probably didn’t as many Bible scholars would claim. But that’s not our topic.

Back to our topic … why Good Friday?

When Jesus was crucified, there were several statements he was declaring.

One of which was “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Now because this was a marketplace term (tetelestai in Greek), people probably were looking around if there was a transaction going on… or buying or selling of goods… or an exchange of items… or something of that sort.

How come? That term meant “PAID IN FULL.”

Now if Jesus blurted this out referring to himself being the ‘payer’, who then is the one in debt?

That would be me… and you.

All my greed and yours, all my lust and yours, all my pride and yours, all my immorality and yours…fornication, murder, addictions, adultery, dishonoring parents, dishonoring God…  the list goes on and on and on.

Those, he paid for in full by his death on the cross.

If he paid it in full, how much of our debt we need to try to pay for?

Silly question but it’s interesting how people still do the very thing that seems silly.

We pay for something already paid in full. How?

By trying to follow the list of commands given in the Scriptures thinking it can save us or make us more saved (if that were even possible).

What’s so good about Good Friday?

He paid a debt He didn’t owe because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay!

I’m not that bad, right? Compared to Hitler or Osama, I’m not a bad guy.

For sure, you and I can argue that point. And a thousand to one, we will win it.

However, that’s really not the point. We’re not as bad as those guys are. But we’re all as bad off as those guys.

Sin in its original meaning is ‘missing the mark.’ If hitting the bullseye was perfect obedience to God’s commands, then missing the target would be a transgression.

Now whether you miss it 5 millimeters or 5 meters, the fact is that you still missed it.

There’s no such thing as sort of bullseye.  It’s either a bullseye or not a bullseye.  Thus, there’s no such thing as “I sort of sinned.” It’s either I sinned or I didn’t.

So if I sinned and fell short, together with the rest of mankind (Romans 3:23), then there’s a debt I owe. Paying for that debt would be the logical thing to do.

However, the requirement God had for debt of sin to be paid was death. Not death by anyone, but death of an unblemished and perfect lamb. (Check out my last post here.)

This where the concept of substitutionary sacrifice comes in.

The penalty for my sin can be paid for by substitution.  But it needed to be by a perfect sacrifice. Thus, being imperfect myself, I am unable to pay for my debt.

Someone perfect, without sin had to take my place.

In this case, Jesus did.

Jesus paid the debt He didn’t owe because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay.

This is an unfair deal. For sure. Yet it was the Great Exchange. My sin for His righteousness and His righteousness for my sin.

To this Paul makes a declaration,

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

What a great salvation we have!

Was it necessary? I can actually think of 3 other ways Jesus could avoid dying.

1. Couldn’t the Creator (God) just release Divine Pardon for His creation? Call it quits. Forgive. Amnesty.

2. Or how about suffering for my sins? I’ll try to cover what I’ve done by suffering for it?

3. Better yet, what if I try to pay for it by doing good – from giving to the poor to reading my Bible more?

The more I study the Passover story, the more I understand the big picture.

When the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance from the Egyptians, God raised up a deliverer in the person of Moses. Moses goes before Pharaoh to give Yahweh’s directive to “let His people go.”

Because of Pharaoh’s hard heart, God sends 10 plagues to judge the 10 gods of Egypt – from Heqet to Ra. All the 9 affected the Egyptians but not the Israelites.  However, on the 10th plague (the death of the first born), Israel was not exempted.

They however were given a way out – that if they kill a lamb that is unblemished and perfect, sprinkle the blood on the doorposts of their houses, then the ‘destroyer’ (Ex.12:23) will passover their houses and spare the male firstborn children.

Whenever they would celebrate Passover from then on, the firstborn will look at the table and remember, “the only reason I’m alive is because that thing on the table isn’t.” It was either a dead son or a dead lamb.

Fast forward 1500 years, the Israelites were still celebrating the Passover.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he took both the bread and the cup.

Everyone around the table were probably wondering, “the bread and the wine are here, but where’s the lamb?”

That night, the lamb was not on the table because The Lamb was at the table.

No wonder John the Baptist declared when he saw Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

He no longer covers sin. He takes away sin.

He alone could do it.  The lamb had to be perfect, without defect.

Jesus because like one of us yet he was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

He alone could identify with us because He was fully human. But at the same breath, He alone could fulfill the requirement to appease God’s wrath toward sin because He was fully divine and without sin.

Did Jesus have to die?

A definite YES!