Crucifixion Mosaic, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem Israel


We are coming up on HOLY WEEK this week... and that means Friday is Good Friday.  

Have you ever wondered what is so GOOD about Good Friday? Wasn't Jesus crucified that day? Wasn't crucifixion a horrible and torturous way to die?  And why, if Jesus really was the Son Of God... God in the flesh... did His life end on a cross being hated by so many people? I would not call that a "good day"!

I have always been a person who "wants to know". Through many years of walking with God in faith, He has shown me so so many things... and I think He wants to show you something today too...


Let's first start by acknowledging that God's thoughts and our thoughts are not the same. We tend to want to minimize God... sorta stick Him in a human box. We see things... even God,  from our I'm-the-center-of-the-universe point of view.

To see the crucifixion and the plan of salvation God ordained, we must grasp it... as much as we can... from a GOD point of view!


"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8-9


Can we count the stars in the sky? I know I can't! God not only knows the exact amount of stars in the sky... He created them! He not only thought up the color blue but the concept of color... and water... and smells... and everything else there is! Let's admit it... God is sometimes strange and wild and mysterious to us. We just can't think as big as He is!

But God's economy or the way He does things is perfect even if we don't understand it! Just look at YOU! He created you and gave you life. He knew about you before you even were! And He LOVES you more than you and I deserve or can even ever imagine! He is all good and loving and merciful as well as all just. Thoughts too big for my brain!

Now it is from that vantage point we will look at the crucifixion of Jesus.  We will look at God's big salvation plan!


Let's take a trip back to the beginning of time...back when the world and everything in it was created.. yes, created!


God created us not because He needed us, but because He wanted a relationship with us. That in itself is astounding to me! He also knew that we would sin, and that He would send His Son to us and that Jesus would die a horrific death. Why would God do this? Why didn't he make us in a way that we would have to obey Him and not turn away?

It's all about relationship. There is no relationship if we are slaves to God's will. Out of lavish love God gave us free will. A relationship with God needs to come out of love and respect and deep gratitude and the knowledge that God is... well, God! We were made to be in a relationship... a real and intimate relationship with God!

When man, Adam and Eve, sinned and disobeyed God, that sin fractured their relationship. A deep divide separated man from God.  Because God is holy (set apart, other than) He has nothing to do with sin... nothing at all.

God is life and when we are separated from Him... from life... we die.

Sin equals death! That is why we die... because we sin. That is the bottom line!

Romans 8:23 says, "The wages of sin is death".

Sin takes us from the source of life and carries us on a rebellious course walking right into the jaws of death!

Now stay with me... it is important that you know some background to understand Christ's death on the cross!


God turned Adam and Eve out from His perfect presence and and into a world that was now also affected by sin.

But when He turned them out the the Garden of Eden, He clothed them... do you know what He clothed them with?


" For Adam also and his wife the Lord God made long tunics of skin and clothed them" Gen 4:21

God clothed Adam and Eve because their sin had stripped them of purity and innocence. Their eyes no longer saw the good and holy things God created but these things were now perverted by sin!

 Think about this... how would many of us react if we saw a naked man or woman walking down the street.  Our minds are not innocent. We would not praise God for the beauty of His creation in a pure way!  Now, can you see why God clothed the man and his wife with skins? If He did not, they would go deeper and deeper into sin!

Here's another question... where did God get the animal skins?  I hope you said from animals. Good! But how did he get them off the animals and onto the humans?

This part breaks my heart... God the source of life... God who IS life... killed his own creation!  He killed the creation that He made perfect and found such joy in.  He killed His animals to get skins for the sake of the man and woman He loved so much and who had forsaken Him!

There must have been the shedding of a whole lot of blood! The first shedding of blood!

Leviticus 17:11 says, "Life is in the blood".


No blood equals no life!


The shedding of blood became a way for people through the ancient ages to connect with God.  God's people would make a sacrifice, shedding blood so that the blood shed would cover, so to speak, their sins just like the shedding of blood and and the skins covered the sinful bodies of Adam and Eve.


Life draining out of an animal as it bleeds to death was a very very graphic way for them to see that sin equals death! 

Their sins needed to be paid for... for remember, God is a just God... and so by killing an animal and spilling it's blood the people would see how grievous and  messy and painful and horrible sin really is! God must have not wanted any doubt in the ancients minds about the consequences of sin and the precious cost of it! The cost was death. They substituted an animals life for theirs killed by their own hands

. And once the sin was covered (but not paid for), God and man could have a relationship... that is... until the next sin!  There was a whole lot of sacrificing by the Jews, God's people. I would have been no different... would you?

Now we may all think this is all very barbaric or uncivilized or just plain bad. And you would be right... in a way.
Sin is bad! And sin demands a huge payment... death!

Now I know someone is asking, Why don't we sacrifice animals today?  What a great question! OR, what does this all have to do with Jesus' crucifixion? Another great question!!! 

We don't sacrifice animals today because the debt of sin... my debt of sin and yours has been paid in full!!! All those sins that were covered by animals blood were paid for! And all the sin of the future were paid for too!

But how?


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. " John 3:16

God loves all of us so much that He gave Jesus, God in the flesh to come and be a sacrifice in our place for our sins just like the animals were to the ancient Jews. And so that everyone could have eternal life and no one had an advantage over another or was left out we don't have to do anything but believe. 


God had planned Jesus' trade-off  death since before the beginning of the world! When Adam and Eve sinned, God punished them and put them out from His presence. He loved them so so much that right in the middle of His stern words He speaks to the serpent and says...

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head and you will bruise His heel." Gen 4:15

Right there in the beginning God gives the good news of salvation to a man and woman who desperately needed it!

Do you see the word HE? "He will crush your head." That means there will be someone who will crush the authority power of Satan!  That someone was and is Jesus!!!!

He would deal with sin for us and be the payment for sin.


Jesus' purpose for coming to earth as a man was to die in my place and your place. He knew it and He agreed to it! He would be our Kinsman Redeemer! (I'll talk about this some time soon).

This is why He could not just live out his life as a great teacher and fade into obscurity ... or die of old age... or of some disease.

His blood needed to be spilled... and it was spilled so graphically using the preferred method of the day... Roman crucifixion!  The bible says that Jesus was so badly beaten and abused that He was literally unrecognizable as a man! Think of that!

Like the slaughtering of animals... visual... raw... a-big-picture-of-a-reminder that sin equals death, Jesus' death in our place was even more graphic. It makes an impression... if you dare think on it or read about it!

The last thing Jesus said before HE GAVE UP HIS SPIRIT and died was...

TETELESTAI

We translate that as "It is finished". John 19:30

What was finished? 

The word TETELESTAI is so much more than FINISHED... it means 

PAID IN FULL!

What was finished... what was paid in full?

The debt we had for sin was paid in full for ALL time by Jesus' blood... and the separation of man from God because of sin was finished.

Why did Jesus' blood satisfy our debt with God? Here's the amazing thing... because it was sinless! It had to be sinless blood. It had to come from a sinless person. If Jesus were a sinner like us, he could not save us or himself... it would be worthless blood just like everyone else's. 


How do we know that Jesus' blood was sinless? Because he never sinned in His whole life... no, not even once. Not even one tiny snarky or impatient or unkind thought.

If you are asking me how I know this you will have to wait till next week...

Easter is the reason I know... and it's the best part of God's redemptive story!!!


There is so so much more than what I am able to tell you right here! God's truth is so deep and wide!!!! It is marvelous and it leaves me awe struck!

But you have all you need to know to restore your relationship with God...

 If you, like me, are a sinner and know that what you do is wrong... and are sorry because you have sinned against God and have cut off a relationship with Him...

and believe that Jesus is God and that He died in your place...dying on the cross and rising again on Easter morning...

and that you want to live differently... living with Him as your Lord... then tell Him!

And if you believe and tell Him, then your relationship is restored! And you will be eternally with Him... and me and so many many others!!!


Please let someone know if you have accepted Jesus' death in place of yours. Let them know that you belong to Him now... do this so you can grow in Him and have the joy of fellowship with other believers!


I know for some of you this might be so hard to swallow. Please ask God to show you who He is! If you have an open mind and heart... HE WILL.


The day Jesus died will always be Good Friday to me. It reminds me of the goodness of God... the goodness of Jesus' sacrifice and the Good news of salvation offered to me through the cross and the blood of Jesus, my Savior!


 
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