Good Friday started off like a normal Friday with little Luke. His sweet baby smiles and laughter filled my morning with serenity and calm. By mid-morning, though, I attending a funeral service honoring the life of George Holbrook, father of my friend, Jeff. It was at the graveside that I heard Sally say something I have heard a million times but hadn't truly thought about until that moment. She said, "I love Good Friday because it is the day that Jesus died on the cross for my sins." If you read my blog at all, you know that I am a Christian and have been a believer for almost 21 years. But, if you read my blog at all you know that it was in November of 2007 that I rededicated my life to the Lord and began my personal walk with Him. So, obviously, this thought it not a new one for me, but it is one that I pondered over a great deal this weekend.
This past weekend was Easter weekend. This is possibly the most celebrated holiday on the Christian calender. I personally love Easter. I love that the white shoes come back out, the dying of Easter eggs, the smoked hams, the gathering of family and friends, and the sugar coma that I am sure to fall into. But, it's the true meaning of Easter that I love the most. However, this is where I get hung up. What is the most important part of Easter? Is it the death of Christ or His resurrection?
This baby was born, in a manger in a barn, and he lived a normal little boy's life-only one with no lying, cheating, or sin of any kind-and he was a carpenter until he reached the age of 30 when He began a three year ministry to people of all stations in life. Then, at the age of 33, He was charged with no real crime and executed in the most horrifying and humiliating way between two thieves on a cross. And then, not only did He die, but He rose from the grave on the third day. He conquered death and ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. And I believe all of this to be true because of the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all eyewitnesses to Jesus (with the exception of Luke, a doctor and a gentile), each book written within one generation of Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, leaving little room for dispute since eyewitness accounts are in all five books dedicated to Jesus' life. Jesus, who lived this sinless, perfect life, died that horrific death because He loved me. Me. This sinful, ungrateful, wretched little person who doubts her heavenly father at least once a day and is less than faithful in our blossoming relationship. Yes, Jesus died on the cross out of His love for me.
Friday was a miserable day for Jesus. He was beat up, spit on, whipped, and He was nailed to a cross where He died. And yet Friday is a day of joy for sinners everywhere because it is in His death that we were set free for our sins; past, present, and future. On Saturday, Jesus lay in the tomb and early Sunday morning, He was raised from the dead.
I believe that it is the sacrifice of Jesus' life on the cross that is most important to sinners, but like love and marriage, you can't have one without the other. His death had to be accompanied by His resurrection. Without conquering the grave and death, His sacrifice would have been lessened. It's because of these events that God and sinners are reconciled and for that I am so very grateful.