“[Jesus said] ‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?'” Matthew 26: 53 – 54
Good Friday has always been a bittersweet day for me. As a child, I looked forward to Easter, and my feelings on Good Friday were always, Can’t we just skip this part? I hated the thought of what evil men did to Jesus. I still hate to think about it, especially now that I know I had a part in nailing Him to that cross. And yet, I need to think about it, and every day as I turn my thoughts to Him, I remember.
When the film “The Passion of the Christ” came out in theaters, I went to see it alone. I did not want anyone sitting with me making conversation. As much as I dreaded going through the experience, I knew I needed to, and I wanted it to be just between Jesus and me.
There were only a few of us in the theater, and when a group came in and sat behind me, munching their popcorn and chattering away, I almost moved. But the moment the movie started, there was a hush over the room that stayed, as we were all caught up in the most intense moments of history.
As I had expected, the violence was depicted in agonizing detail, and it was horrible to watch. But I did sense the Lord’s presence, as the tears rolled down my face. With each crack of the whip that ripped open Jesus’ back, every mocking sneer, every blow of the hammers, I was acutely aware that He was going through all this for me, and He could have stopped it any time He wanted to.
And yet, He didn’t. Because if He had, we would still be lost in our sins. Every evil act, every foolish choice, every selfish motive, every malicious intention, every nasty word, every bad attitude of the heart – it all has to be paid for.
So, as the story unfolded in all its horror, what struck me most wasn’t how cruel people can be (although they can be) or how much pain exists in the world (although it does), but how much He loves us. He went through all that so we could have an opportunity to be forgiven and saved. To opened the doors of heaven to us, He endured betrayal, a mocking crown of thorns, punches in the face, spitting, having His back cut to ribbons, being nailed to a cross, hanging by the nails in His wrists in the afternoon heat, excruciating thirst, and finally dying of asphyxiation. He didn’t have to, but He did!
And all we have to do is believe in Him! Who would be foolish enough to reject such love? Who is crazy enough to say, “No thanks, I’ll pay for my own sins.”? According to Old Testament Scripture, sacrifices had to be without blemish – perfect. Since none of us is perfect, we need Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice. Rejecting this sacrifice is to sign our own eternal death warrant.
What amazes me about Good Friday is a Savior that loved us enough to suffer more than we can ever imagine, because He couldn’t stand the thought of spending eternity without us!
Jesus chose to die for us. Are we choosing to live for Him?
Prayer: Jesus, I can’t fathom Your love for me. You could have stayed in heavenly glory and left me to suffer the consequences my our own sins, but You didn’t. You gave Your body as an atoning sacrifice for me, and in view of Your mercy, I offer my body as a living sacrifice for You. Live in me and through me today, in Jesus’ name. Amen