Good Friday

     Today is called “Good Friday.”  It is an annual reminder to Christians around the world to honor the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Honestly, it is surprising that the excruciating execution of the only perfect person in all of human history is called good.  But the cross of Christ is good in multiple ways.
      The painful cross of Jesus shows us the truth about our sinfulness.  We have not only made mistakes, we have defied our Creator.  We have rebelled against the ruler of the universe.  In the words of R. C. Sproul we have committed “cosmic treason.”  It is good for us to understand even the ugly truth about ourselves.   
     The cross of Jesus shows us the stunning love of God for us.  My wife and I have five children. Would I give up any of them to save an enemy?  Absolutely not!  But God did it for us!  Despite our broken character, because of the warping power of sin God still sees us as worth saving.  He still sees us as having immense value, a tremendous treasure.  In the American economy, the value of something is generally based on how much someone will pay for it.  God paid the ultimate price for us.  Max Lucado summarizes these two ideas in saying, “God on a cross.  Humanity at its worst.  Divinity at its best.”  Jesus could have called squadrons of angels to end his pain at any moment, but instead he chose to suffer and die because he wanted a relationship with you and me.  
     The cross of Jesus shows us the surprising power of God’s grace.  Grace is simply unmerited favor.  While experiencing his final hours in agony on the cross, we still see Jesus offering people unmerited favor or grace.  He asks his Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  These are the people who are taunting him.  This request includes the soldiers that mocked him, spit on him, whipped him, and are executing him.  He even turns to a repentant criminal next to him on another cross and offers him grace.  The man says “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  I would have been tempted to say, “Hey, weren’t you and the other criminal mocking me just a little bit ago.  You’re kidding me right?”  But Jesus shockingly says to that criminal “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  This man will never do anything for God’s kingdom.  There is no time for him to offer any good works at all.  Yet, we will someday meet him in heaven for one reason only—grace.  Unmerited favor is the only reason any of us will be there.  
     At the cross there was a great exchange, Jesus experienced our just punishment for sin, and we received His righteousness.  The gruesome cross of Christ is truly good news for all of us.  Today, please reflect on the truth of your sinfulness, and the love and grace of our Savior.

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church