On Friday (the Good one) I had a ditzy moment with my sister. She was telling me about her day and the fact that holidays are usually less stressful at the hospital and I very seriously asked her, “It’s Good Friday here too?”
I won’t tell you how she responded but it’s probably the same way you’re responding right now.
But regardless of how my silly question came about, I realized one important thing: Jesus’ sacrifice for us, like His birth, is still marked throughout the world. And this weekend, though many of us may be trapped inside because of the ongoing pandemic, it will be good for us to reflect on the greatest good thing that has ever happened in the history of the world.
Why did Jesus come to Earth as man?
“All of us were like sheep that were lost, each going his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6a GNT)
We each had turned our backs on God, we each decided that we would live our lives the way we wanted and not in the way God wanted. He may have made us in His image but we each did our share of plastic surgery to adjust, enhance, obscure, or ‘perfect’ what was there.
Have you ever listened to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? I’m a huge Sinatra fan but I can’t hear it the way it was intended - as a celebratory war cry for independence. When I listen to it, I hear instead an indictment on mankind and our rebellion.
Have we done a very good job of doing things our own way? Look at the world’s history and decide for yourself. Regardless of the highs, who’s responsible for the very low lows? Who’s responsible for human misery, wars, genocides, and plagues (like Covid-19)? Who created prejudice, slavery, divisions, abuse, robbery, and murder?
Whether by word or by deed, we are each culpable of some wrong against another human being. What do we deserve for all the times we hurt someone else (or ourselves) by our selfishness?
And that’s the bad news.
Let’s move onto the Good News?
“But The Lord made the punishment fall on Him, the punishment all of us deserved.” (Isaiah 53:6b GNT)
Jesus took what we deserved and offered us what He deserved (the Divine Exchange).
Jesus lived a perfect life - He didn’t do anything wrong, including wrongs against other human beings, and He never rebelled against His Father. Since He didn’t commit any sin, He didn’t deserve any punishment.
“He was placed in a grave with those who are evil...even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie.” (Hebrews 10:12 GNT)
Did we deserve for someone else to pay the penalty for our wrong? Of course not! But that’s the beauty of God and His love for us - while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Do we deserve the blessings that are fair for a perfect life lived? Of course not! But that’s the beauty of God and His grace towards us. By His sacrifice on the cross Christ has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14).
The late philosopher Derek Prince summarizes what Jesus Christ’s exchange (or sacrifice) means for us.
Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.
Jesus died our death that we might receive His life.
Jesus was made a curse that we might enter into the blessing.
Jesus endured our poverty that we might share His abundance.
Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory.
Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance with the Father.
Isn’t this the best news ever?!
So Happy Easter and may you remember what Christ’s death got for you!