The joy of Easter is a welcome celebration. A celebration of life, victory, and hope. But before the dawn comes darkness. Before joy comes sorrow. Before comfort comes suffering, and before resurrection comes death.
Many people know THAT Jesus suffered, bled and died. Even hollywood movies like "The Passion of the Christ" are able to capture the awful historical reality of Jesus' crucifixion. But WHY did Jesus suffer? Why did He have to die? Why didn't He fight back? Why did He allow Himself to be betrayed, beaten, and nailed to a Roman cross? The answer to this question is at the heart of the Christian faith. The necessity of Christ's death for sin is at the core of the gospel message.
The holy and just God of the universe must punish sin. And all of us, every one, are guilty. We have earned His righteous wrath by our rebellion. But the startling good news of the gospel is that this God is also merciful, loves us, and has graciously provided His Son as a substitute. Jesus suffered in our place, on our behalf, so that we might be reconciled to God.
For those who believe this gospel, we look upon the cross with a mixture of fear and gratitude. The cross reveals to us the justice of God upon sin, but it also displays His unfathomable love. Jesus Christ, who was innocent, died for guilty sinners. God stepped down and became like us, so that we might ascend to heaven and be made like Him. As Good Friday approaches, it is sobering and comforting to remember what Christ has accomplished for us.
This Friday we will be participating in a "Darkening Service" with our sending church where select scriptures will be read and songs sung that help us reflect on the suffering and death of our Savior.
- The First Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Grace (Luke 23:33-34)
- The Second Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Love (John 19:26-27)
- The Third Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Hope (Luke 23:43)
- The Fourth Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Agony (Matthew 27:46)
- The Fifth Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Suffering (John 19:28)
- The Sixth Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Finality (John 19:30)
- The Seventh Saying of Jesus on the Cross: A Word of Rest (Luke 23:46)
We hope you will join us and not shield your eyes from the darkness and death of Calvary. It was because of us. And it was for us. But the horror of that night gives way to joy and celebration as our King rises from the grave on Sunday, signifying that the Father has accepted His sacrifice, and signaling to the world that Jesus is the Son of God, and that our enemy Satan, sin, and death have all been defeated. Without first considering the cost, the darkness, His death, this victory may not mean much to us. But when we realize what Jesus endured, and what has been accomplished in this grand redemptive drama, our hearts are filled with joy and wonder at the glorious grace of our God!