Thoughts on “Good Friday” and the Easter Weekend

crossWe have traditionally called the Friday before Easter Sunday “Good Friday” because it commemorates something undeniably good being granted us: we are recipients of God’s Grace and Mercy. However, the title “Good Friday” can cause many to forget that this day concurrently commemorates the undeniably worst day for the Son of God: He was the Recipient of God’s Wrath and Judgment.

God purposely sent His Son, Jesus Christ—Who never knew what it was to give in to Satan’s malicious invitation to sin—to take our place and become the Recipient of God’s wrath upon sin, so that through Him we might become vessels of God’s righteousness:“For our sake He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Those who are in Christ have been transformed from vessels of wrath to vessels of God’s righteousness. A glorious and yet horrifying transfer of God’s wrathful judgment became gracious justification through the base elements of some fearfully large nails and a splintery, cruel, blood-stained cross! As the songwriter penned,

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
(The Power of the Cross by Keith Getty)

Today, we who have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ raise our hands and souls to the Triune God and cry out to Him, “Thank you!” The beautiful reality that we celebrate this coming Sunday is that Jesus did not stay dead, though He was completely dead—a corpse—for 3 days in the sealed tomb. No, our Savior is our Savior because He is alive through the same Power of God that has made us alive in Christ.

The Apostle Paul magnifies this reality when he prayed for us as the Church of Jesus Christ to really know, “What is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might, that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:16-23)

So the question for us today, as the Church of Jesus Christ is this: Are we thankfully tapping into and unleashing this same resurrection Power through Grace-infused, Spirit-infused, Gospel-embracing obedience? Or are we afraid to obey such a Gospel’s demands because it scares us where an omnipotent God’s power and grace might take us and what it might cause us to give up (comforts, traditions, friendships, or whatever other lame excuses with which Satan entices us)? Shame on us if the latter is true, for such would mean that we are ungodly cowards and more afraid to serve the God of Grace than Jesus was in resolutely obeying and enduring the God of Wrath’s fury upon sin.

On this “Good Friday” and throughout this weekend, may we remember that God does not want us to have simply a “good” life. He wants us to have godly life. He desires for His resurrection power to flow through our souls as His Gospel is proclaimed in our thoughts, words, and actions. Why? Because He is passionate about His glory and for our joy to be full!

We joyfully look forward to the day when we will sing with all creation a new song in the immediate and physical presence of the conquering Lamb: “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Revelation 5:9-14)

Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend;

Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men? O, You rescue the souls of men!

You are the One that we praise, You are the One we adore.

You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for, O, our hearts always hunger for.”

(Wonderful, Merciful Savior by Eric Wyse and Dawn Rodgers)

Happy Easter: He is Risen!

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