A man was convicted of a crime he was innocent of. His own people cried “crucify him, crucify him.” He was mocked, spat on, slapped, then whipped with leather straps laced with metal and glass shavings until he bruised and his skin was torn. Then he was led down the street in a walk of shame to the place where they would slaughter him. In one last attempt, the governor asked the people if he should be released, or the man next to him that committed murder. The murderer was released. There the innocent man hung him on a tree until he gasped a last breath just before his lungs gave out.
The account sounds sad to this point. Why would anyone dub this event with the name “Good Friday?” The man hanging was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He was destined for this duty and willingly took it on for the people who would benefit.
You see, the scriptures predicted a man coming in the flesh who would be God coming in the flesh of a man, born of a virgin, and being born through a family with the lineage traced back to David, back to Abraham, and right back to Adam and Eve. In order to satisfy the requirements that would be needed to fulfill the scriptures, the Savior of mankind would need to fulfill specific prophecies he had control of, and over three hundred he had no control of, such as the family line, where he would born, what people would say about him, his crucifixion, his death, and where he would be buried.
Of all these things predicted, the meaning of Good Friday takes on a different role. In order to complete the task, the Messiah needed to be raised from the dead, a trick Houdini was not even capable of. But in order to pay for the sins of mankind, the Savior was one who would need to walk to the plank of death, take a punishment for a crime he was innocent of, then suffer in excruciating pain while hanging on a cross until his body gave up its fight.
The good news is that he did it for those who would believe. Jesus paid the price of our heinous sin against God and applied it to those who believe in Him. And before you say to yourself, “I believe,” you have to know what you believe in. To acknowledge this fact is not the belief the Bible talks about.
The “believe” that Jesus is the Messiah is not the “believe” that produces salvation. Some would be surprised to realize even the devil believes in Jesus. He even realizes Jesus is God and is Messiah. But in order to benefit from the task of Jesus, one has to receive what he has done for their own personal life.
To believe is to fully trust in Jesus’ merit for salvation and not depend on your own good works, which are filthy rags to God. Those hoping they go to heaven, or live their life the best they can in hopes of God’s favor don’t realize the significance of Jesus going to the cross. What Jesus did for you makes it a Good Friday..
Many churches in Albany will be acknowledging Good Friday this evening in honor of Jesus Christ. Some churches in the Capital District may hold Friday night services. Check a church near you if you plan to attend.
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