Again, Easter offers an odd dichotomy for Christians: horrible pain and transcendent celebration, overbearing weight and jubilant joy , total depravity and complete grace.
We know there is overwhelming evil in the world. We know we “are not perfect”. We know our actions… much less the depths of our thoughts. This is called sin. Sin creates debt. However, there is a problem… how can the debtor pay this debt? The debtor cannot undo what has been done. For humans, time is linear. We live and die.
Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The past is unchangeable. Justice and the satisfaction of “payment” must be made. This is not optional.
The payment is Jesus’ death.
John 3:16-18: 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
“Good Friday” = The Brutally Bloody, Grotesque & Definitive Physical Murder of Jesus
On “Good Friday”, Christians seek to reverently feel the weight of the brutally grotesque crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the weight he bore on the cross. Jesus was the son of God, and also the sovereign and holy God of the universe wrapped in a suit of human flesh. There is divine mystery in this carnal reality… Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. God forewent his divinity and power and subjected himself to his depraved creation.
Your and my sins put Jesus on the cross. You are not exempt from this, and neither am I.
His mom and friends had to witness every gruesome minute of it.
Jesus’ death alone isn’t the most compelling part of the story. People die every day. Jesus was ~~somewhat~~ unique in that he was God and lived a perfect life in total obedience and service to God the Father.
Jesus didn’t just die. His death was brutal and disgusting. It was bloody and more painful than anything you or I will ever experience or could ever imagine. Crucifixion is the most deplorable method of humiliating and painful killing that has been ever been devised by the depraved human mind.
God is author of creation. God gave us creativity… and we used that to torture and murder Jesus.
Jesus WILLINGLY allowed himself to be tortuously murdered to pay OUR debt.
Jesus’ death is not questionable. Many didn’t survive the beating and torture BEFORE carrying the cross..
Nails were driven through Jesus’ wrists and feet. He hung on the cross… choking… barely able to breathe.
To confirm Jesus’ murder, a soldier thrust a spear was deeply into his body.
John 19:32-34: 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Death by crucifixion was not a “possibility”… it was an inevitability. Everyone that was crucified died. That was the purpose of crucifixion.
By the grace of God, the story does not end there.
The story continues to a beautiful reality and majestic end.
Glorious Sunday = Jesus Christ’s Resurrection from a Definitive Physical Death
After death, Jesus’ maimed body was nearly mummified and placed to rest in a guarded tomb.
People waited a day.
People waited another day.
People waited another day.
Three days after the flesh-tearing and blood flooding death. Jesus sat up.
The tomb was was empty.
Matthew 28:5-6: 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
THAT is what changed all of humanity past, present and future.
Jesus sat up.
Logic begone, science and the natural order defied, questions answered, doubts resolved, complete victory over flesh actively declared and exercised.
Jesus sat up.
The fact that Jesus sat up is why Jesus matters to you and me.
Jesus Sat Up = Jesus’ Unique Position & Credibility
Jesus offers forgiveness, saving grace, and true life in his resurrection.
Jesus proved his divinity when he sat up.
Because Jesus sat up, his declarations of Truth forever hold unique appeal, weight, and credibility.
He said something that most don’t like and many don’t “agree with”:
John 14: 1-7 (emphasis added): “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
“NO ONE comes to the Father except through me”… This is NOT an inclusive statement. This stands in direct contradiction to atheism, agnosticism, and all other belief systems. This is a definitive declaration unique to Jesus.
This is not “hate speech”. Agreement is not our prerogative.
There are NOT multiple “options” or “paths”. Everything else is objectively incorrect.
There is ONLY Jesus… because Jesus sat up.
Eternal power, deep love, true life, missional purpose, and abounding grace is offered in Jesus’ resurrection.
The resurrection is what makes Jesus’ death matter.
It’s all about Jesus.
Jesus invites us into his scarred arms of forgiveness.
In case it was missed… it’s all about Jesus. All known and unknown creation is about the death & resurrection of Jesus.
Eternity in the presence of God starts with a declaration of belief. What follows is true purpose and life.
Your Opinions are Irrelevant, but Your Belief Maintains Eternal Consequence
God is God, and Jesus sat up regardless of your opinions.
The Bible says it like this:
Romans 14:10-12: … For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
He said to “follow him”. He said to “obey him”. He said he offers “true life”. Following, obeying, and having faith in Jesus are our orders and opportunities.
He authored life. He IS life… so he is in the unique position to tell us what life should look like.
Outside Jesus, your opinions about what is “good” and what life should look like are irrelevant. This often takes faith.
The Bible says it again another way:
Philippians 2: 4-9: 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Your opinion on these facts is irrelevant… but your belief is eternally relevant. You and I will all bow to Jesus’ divinity at some point, willingly or not.
The ONLY response is surrender and obedience. We have the responsibility of response.
What is your response? This is the most important question of your existence.
What is Your Response?
One of Jesus’ disciples, Peter said it best:
John 6:66-69: 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Confronted with the reality of Truth, in life, “where else can we go?”. Denial is delusion.
Christ doesn’t promise wealth, rainbows, unicorns, a lifetime comfort. He promises pain, sacrifice, persecution…
2 Timothy 12-14: 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
… but “where else can we go, in light of the fact that Jesus sat up?”.
With this obedience comes true joy, direct connection and communication with the Creator of the universe, transcendent power in the Holy Spirit… real life. This decision changes EVERYTHING about your existence… your choices… your purpose… your family… your time… your understanding of “treasure”.
John 10:10-11: 10 [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Eternity in the presence of the almighty God is offered as you declare surrendered allegiance to Jesus. This isn’t something you can declare with your mouth and not show in our actions and lives. This inevitably manifests itself in every aspect of life. You are given a heart of love. Because God loved us, we are able to love him. Wow.
This reality and beautiful indentured servitude permeates all of your being (this is called the Holy Spirit). To help and instruct us, God gave us the Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible, and the church (aka: Holy Community), filled with a plethora of like-minded hypocritical seekers and servants.
Colossians 1: 10-23: … walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…
… what is your response?
We don’t know what today, much less tomorrow holds. If this creates a feeling of “pressure”… that’s OK.
Again,the only question that matters…
… what is YOUR response?