Today is Good Friday. It’s the cornerstone of Christianity. Easter gets all of the press. It’s beautiful and glorious. All Christian churches acknowledge and celebrate Easter. Not nearly as many acknowledge and have a service for Good Friday. It’s a somber day and a somber service.
Talking about and picturing the crucifixion of Jesus is hard and brutal. It also requires that we take a hard look at our own sin, not a fun thing to do. However, just like a woman has to endure labor to get a baby, we have to go to the cross to get to Easter. We have to repent of our sins to get forgiveness. There’s no way around it.
I am reminded that there were two other men who were crucified with Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells us that as they were all three hanging up there in shame, enduring a slow agonizing death, that a short conversation occurred. One of the men was surly and angry til the end. Luke tells us he hurled insults at Jesus and basically said if he were the Christ, he could save himself and the other two hanging there.
Jesus said nothing in reply to the angry, hateful words hurled at him. As far as we know, that man died with his hate and anger.
The other man chose a different path. He “rebuked” the first man. He told him they were getting what they deserved, but that Jesus was innocent. Notice what he did. He owned his sin. He admitted he was wrong. Then he addressed Jesus. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42 He repented.
And the innocent, Son of God, who was hanging on a cross said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Those few words and a changed heart, guaranteed that repentant sinner a place in paradise with Jesus. That’s all it took. That’s all it takes for us.
I pray that all Christians will take some time today to think about the cross and what Jesus endured and what was accomplished. Let’s think about those two criminals and their choices and the ramifications. Let’s think about the importance of repentance and ask for forgiveness.
Let’s bask in the knowledge that grace was born on Good Friday as Jesus willingly breathed his last breath. Let’s really take it all in.
And then, let’s wake up Sunday morning with nothing but joy in our hearts because we know the rest of the story. Let’s remember the utter joy and amazement of Mary Magdalene when she got to see Jesus and talk to him that very first Easter morning. Let’s remember the shock and excitement of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them in a locked room.
Let’s remember the relief that Peter felt when Jesus forgave him for is denial. Peter’s guilt was replaced by a courage that made him stand up for Jesus even when it cost him his own life and countless people were saved because of Peter’s newfound courage and faith.
Let’s celebrate God’s love for us on Sunday. Let’s be at complete peace because in the end God’s love and Jesus’ willing sacrifice is all that really matters. Period. Hallelujah. Amen. He is risen!!
Have an awesome day!!
P.S. I am taking next week off to spend time with my family over spring break, so I won’t be posting. Have a great week.