April 7 I Friday
1 Samuel 7-9
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5
Images of the day Jesus died are disturbing, and we wonder why we call it “Good Friday.” We see two thieves crucified with Jesus, one on either side of Him. On the ground are Roman soldiers, casting lots for His clothing. All around Him are more soldiers, Jewish leaders and onlookers, hurling insults and scoffing. Before Him, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Salome and others who loved Him stood by, sobbing and grieving.
The story of the Gospel leads to the critical day in history when Jesus would be nailed to a cross, beaten, scorned, humiliated and rejected by His own people. This was the day darkness would fall over the land, and the day Jesus would be able to say, “It is finished.” We cannot imagine the depth of agony Jesus suffered; a man of love and compassion, subjected to all the temptations we are, yet He did not sin. How is this not the height of injustice for such a man to die an excruciating death because of our iniquities? Surely, there must be something we can do in return, but in this thinking, we would be wrong.
Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone, and there is nothing we can do to earn it, deserve it or to compensate in any way to make up for the price He paid. The only contribution we make is our sin that provokes the wrath of God. The brutality in which Jesus died is an expression of the judgment and justice meted out by God for the depraved and corrupt nature of the human soul. The average person does not murder, nor is he or she a cruel dictator or one who intentionally inflicts evil upon another. We realize this, but we are all guilty of sin, and the price Jesus paid covers all sin.
Salvation is a gift from God, offered to anyone who comes in humble repentance to Christ. Sin cannot be atoned for in any other way, and it has no place in heaven. Just as judgment is an expression of God’s wrath, His gift of salvation is an expression of His amazing grace and unfailing love. Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God works in the bad and from the bad to create what is good and righteous. The day Jesus died was in exact accordance with His plan for the redemption of humanity. It is God’s desire we be reconciled to Him, and it is only the cross of Christ that makes this possible.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, there are no words to express my gratitude for what Jesus did for me on the cross. Thank You for reconciling me to You through Jesus.