His Death Changes Everything
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
This single event in history changed everything! It has brought hope to so many while at the same time bringing confusion and division to others. Many have tried to explain it away as a hoax or myth, while others have found life-changing forgiveness, salvation and a new life in Christ because they embrace it as truth.
The death of Jesus is not only a factual moment in history. It is not only the death of a good man and a good teacher. More than anything, the death of Jesus Christ is the defining moment in all of history. It is the moment in history that God lavished His love upon His creation. It is the moment in history that displayed God’s hatred toward sin and His unconditional love toward mankind. It is truly the place that love and sorrow meet.
The Apostle Paul phrased it this way in Romans 5:7-8; “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die - But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
From the very beginning of time, God put into place a system of sacrifice to pay the price for wrong. The blood of the innocent has always been shed for the sin of the guilty.
All of Christianity hinges upon this moment in history. Without a bloody cross, there is no salvation. The cross of Jesus Christ provides the atonement for sin and pardon of sin. Atonement for sin is accomplished as Jesus becomes the rightful sacrifice needed for the world’s sin. Jesus is the real righteousness needed. He lived the perfect life that you and I could not live. He gets up on the cross not just as a substitute, but as the only perfect sacrifice acceptable before God. He becomes our pardon as he dies in our place for our sin. When Christ absorbs all of God’s wrath against sin, it is not that sin is near Christ or around Christ. This is not figurative pardon. Jesus Christ takes all of our sin upon himself - II Corinthians 5:21; “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The truth of Jesus’ crucifixion changes everything about life itself. Think today on the seven sayings Jesus made on the cross and see for yourself the love that came down from Heaven to rescue undeserving sinners in need of grace and mercy. Think about these during this Easter weekend and be reminded of God’s great love for you.
The Seven Sayings from the Cross
1. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
2. “Truly I say to you, today you will be in paradise.” Luke 23:43
3. “Woman, behold, your son! Behold your mother.” John 19:26-27
4. “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
5. “I thirst.” John 19:28
6. “It is finished.” John 19:30
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46
This is the day we call Good Friday. Good indeed! What Christ did for us on this day makes it possible for us to be forgiven of our sin - because of the blood of the Lamb. The blood of the innocent was shed for the sin of this guilty one and I am truly grateful for His forgiveness. What about you?