Friday, April 15, 2022

Good Friday Message - Died for Us Sinners

As I do each day, I read and study the Scriptures and humbly ask God for the message that He wants me to share. As I read and continue to study commentaries and translations, there are times when God places His finger on the very passage I am to share. In this case, He did just that and etched His message clearly upon my heart.

In chapter five of his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

There are a couple of truly clear truths that Paul shares with us. The first is that we are helpless when it comes to our debt of sin. There was no possible way for any of us to repay our debt of sin. There weren’t enough sacrificial animals for us to offer up as our atonement for our sins. Jesus came at the right time to redeem us and give us salvation. This gift was undeserved. All walked in darkness and in sin. But, God, in His infinite mercy, sent His son to die for us and to be our once for all time sacrifice. There is no possible way for any of us to understand or fathom the boundless love of God. God sent His son to die for our sins out of love for us.

The next important truth is that it is only Jesus’ blood that can make us right with God. We have no ability to save ourselves from utter damnation. It is only through Jesus that we are able to find our way to the Father. Jesus bridges the divide that separated us from God. It is only through him that we are able to find our way back to God and have a relationship with Him.

All of this came by the way of one act. Jesus had to die for us in order for the wages of sin to be repaid. Jesus willingly chose to endure intense suffering and death upon the cross for us. While on the cross, he was mocked by those who, just days before, welcomed him and celebrated his coming to Jerusalem.

In chapter two of his letter to the Philippians, Paul eloquently sums up why Jesus died for us, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus willingly gave up his position of privilege and power to come to earth and live among sinners. It is because of that selfless act that we are able to have a relationship with the Father. Jesus endured the death that was reserved for the most heinous of criminals. But, before that, he went through a farce of a trial and was beaten without mercy. Later, he would have to carry his own instrument of death by himself while many spat upon him and jeered.

There is no conceivable way for us to understand or truly comprehend the love that Jesus had for us when he lifted his cross upon his shoulders and began to walk the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering.

According to Christian tradition, the Via Dolorosa represents the path that Jesus would have taken, forced by the Roman soldiers, on the way to his crucifixion. It is about 2,000 feet or 600 meters in distance. Jesus, after being beaten, walked each step of that distance carrying a cross, his cross, that weighed between 165 to 220 pounds or almost seventy-five kilograms to almost 100 kilograms.

I would like to think that with each step on his way to Golgotha, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus said the names of each and every person from the beginning of time to the end and said, “I love you.”

As I write this message, my heart is filled with sorrow and also with love. I not only love Jesus for what he did on that day but also for the love that he has shown me and continues to show me. Jesus just doesn’t love me; he also loves you.

I want you to think about what Jesus was willing to endure on your behalf. He took on the sins of the entire world, yours included to show us just how much God loved us. As you do, you also need to reflect on your life. Have you lived a life that has been Christ-like? Have you been obedient to God’s will?

If you haven’t, then today is the perfect time for you to have that little talk with Jesus and ask him to come into your life. Once you open that door in your heart and soul and allow him to be the master of your life, you will feel the weight of sin lifted off your shoulders.

Jesus, in chapter eleven of the Gospel of Matthew, said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

When you lay down your baggage of sin and take up the yoke of Jesus, your life will truly be changed and you will be able to stand firm in His grace. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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