Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified as a criminal. It was a fixed trial, setup with the intent to kill him. Jesus showed the world perfect love, and he came to replace a system that required perfection from imperfect people; in doing so, he made the system obsolete and its leaders irrelevant. But it was in the moment Jesus denounced their corruption and exposed their hypocrisy that they decided to put an end to it.And so they did. Using their connection to the Roman empire, they handed Jesus over to the authorities demanding his death. And so on Friday, during the jewish Passover feast, Jesus was sentenced to death by his compatriots, and killed by the Romans.
It was the worst type of death reserved for the worst type of criminal.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied:
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
Isaiah 53:3-7 ESV
And so Jesus did. Some 600 years later.
Why do Christians say that “Jesus died for us”?
It’s not that Jesus died for you because you are a criminal in the legal sense. It’s that Jesus took upon himself the nature within each one of us that causes us to sin. The Scriptures teach us that inside each of us there is potential for the worst of sins; there is a nature that is alive within us that leads us to do what we ought not to do.
Have you experienced this nature? Do you have regrets and experiences in your past where the worst part of you manifested itself and you did things you never thought or planned to do?
Did you hurt and disappoint loved ones?
Did you lie to a friend?
That happen because of your sinful nature. That’s the part Jesus died for, and that’s why Christ is the only one that can redeem us from the death sin causes.
So today we pause to be grateful.
We pause to remember.
We worship the Lamb of God who was slain.
And on Sunday we will celebrate, because although he died without fighting back, the grave could not hold Him!
We hope to see you then.