Thank Goodness It’s Friday. Good Friday! What is Good Friday and what makes it so good? You may have trouble believing why…
Good Friday is rooted in an ancient Jewish holy day. Passover. Passover is the yearly celebration of Yahweh’s deliverance of the Israelites out of their enslavement in Egypt. Pharaoh forced the Israelites into more than four-hundred years of harsh slavery. But the Israelites were chosen by God to become a lighthouse to the world. A nation through which God would express His Eternal Covenant love and redeeming power; through which a Savior would be born, Jesus, the Messiah.
God didn’t choose them because they were better or more special. God chose them because they were less than average. In fact, there was nothing inherently special about them at all. He chose them because He wanted to love them (Deut.7:6-8). In the eternal plan of God, He called Abraham out of the land of Ur. And from Abraham came Isaac, from Isaac came Jacob, from Jacob came twelve sons, and from these twelve sons came the twelve tribes of Israel. It was these men, women, boys, and girls that were slaves in Egypt.
God sent them a deliverer named Moses. Saved from death as a child by the providence of God, this man would become a chosen agent of The Great I Am. He would be used to stand against Pharaoh, and demand, on The Lord’s behalf, “let my people go!” God knew Pharaoh would not listen. He would get glory over Pharaoh and the powers of evil in His judgment and triumph over them.
In the face of Pharaoh’s obstinance, God cast ten plagues upon him and Egypt. The last of which was the death of the firstborn. God would judge Egypt for their sin of rebellion. The judgment would be death.
But God’s mercy towards His chosen people would triumph over His judgment (Jas.2:13). In wrath, God would remember to be merciful (Hab.3:2). To have mercy on whom He would have mercy (Rom.9:15). To forgive those who trusted His promise (Jn.3:16). If each Israelite family would select a spotless lamb on the tenth day of the first month of Abib, slaughter it on the fourteenth day, put the blood on the doorpost of their house, and eat the roasted lamb that very same night, death would pass over their home. Thus, the name Passover (Ex.12).
Under Moses’s leadership, the Israelites obeyed the Lord. Death struck every firstborn animal, slave, common man, and noble in Egypt. It even reached the house of Pharaoh. But not one of the Israelite homes were visited by death. In a raging fear, Pharaoh told them to go; to leave Egypt. And so, with spoil and great glory, the Israelites left that very same night.
However, Pharaoh changed his mind once again. With his chariots and horses, he chased after Israel and overtook them by the Red Sea. But we know the story: in the power of Yahweh, Moses split the Red Sea and the Israelites passed through a path made in the Sea. Pharaoh chased after them. But as his armies rushed forward, the Sea came crashing down, killing Pharaoh and his armies. The Lord won!
In this magnificent story of deliverance is a picture of salvation from sin and death, in Christ. Sin is humanity’s master. We have been in bondage to a love/hate relationship with desires that are evil and contrary to God. But like Israel, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He sent us a deliverer. Jesus!
Like Moses, Jesus came as a Servant Leader. But He also came as our Passover Lamb (1Cor.5:7). When death should have struck us like the rest of mankind, God provided a covering for our sin: as the lamb was slaughtered and its blood put on the door post, Jesus died in our place (Eph.2:1-5). Historically, on the very day of Passover, Jesus was crucified (Jn.19:14). He is the Lamb of God (Jn.1:29). When death should strike us, God is satisfied when He sees the blood of His Son applied to our life.
As the lamb was spotless, Jesus was without sin (1Pet.2:22). Since He was sinless, He didn’t have to pay a penalty for Himself. He could die for our sin and apply its satisfactory benefit to us (Heb.7:27). He consumed God’s wrath against our sin (Isa.53). In Christ, God is no longer angry at us. He is appeased. And the Father is rather pleased to lavish the riches of His kindness towards us in Christ (Eph.2:7).
God is Holy (Ps.99). He demands that we be holy too (Lev.19:2). But we are not (Rom.3:10-23). And since God is Just, He must punish our sin. The penalty is death (Rom.6:23a). Don’t get it twisted, God hates sin (Ps.11:5). He doesn’t forgive us by simply glancing over our sin; by saying, “I’ll just forget about it”. No. Sin must be punished. And on the cross, Jesus took the punishment for the sins of His people. Only the crucified Christ can cast our sins into the sea of forgetfulness.
Jesus is the only way to the Father (Jn.14:6). He offers the only atonement for sin. He is the only perfectly sinless and positively righteous person who ever lived. Only He is acceptable to God. And the only way you will be acceptable to God is in Him.
The cross is a place of death. It is a warning of God’s opinion of sin and what it deserves. The God of the Bible is not pleased too but will cast sinners into an eternal fire under His eternal wrath (2Pet.1:8-9). But the cross is foremost a display of God’s mercy and love for humanity (Rom.5:8). He has shown us the fire escape. In the back of Sin’s Theater is an exit sign. Yes, we must repent; we must leave Sin’s Attraction and come to the cross (Mk.1:15, Rom.6:1-2). But the benefits far outweigh the cost: “that whoever believes in Him (Christ) shall not perish but have Eternal Life” (Jn.3:16).
TGIF: Thank Goodness It’s Friday. Good Friday. This weekend, spend time with the Lamb of God. As the Israelites took four days to examine the lamb, become acquainted with Jesus’ sinless perfect. Marvel at Him as He is seated at the Father’s right hand. Not dead, but risen, ascended, and exalted.
Do you believe His promise? If you do, turn from your sin and bow your knee to The Lord Jesus Christ. God will send you His Spirit (Eph.1:13-14). He will free you from the penalty and power of sin (Rom.6). You will become His beloved and adopted child. Never shall you perish (Jn.10:28-29; Phil.1:6). You can stand on God’s promise: when you completely and confidently trust in Jesus alone for your salvation, you are freely, fully, and forever, forgive.