The Meaning Of Good Friday & Easter
Good Friday teaches us at least three things:
1. ALL SIN IS ABHORRENT IN THE EYES OF GOD
2. ALL SIN IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
3. ONLY DEATH CAN PACIFY GOD’S WRATH AGAINST SIN
THE CONTEXT OF GOOD FRIDAY
Being holy, God cannot, and will not, allow sin to go unpunished. Either the sinner has to die. Or someone dies in the sinner’s place.
Regardless of who dies, death must take place. Because sin is nothing but kindling for the fury of God; fury that simply will not be quenched till the sin is paid for in full.
How is this payment to be made? Money? Good works? Piety and religiosity?
Actually, none of these.
Because in God’s economy, the only acceptable currency for payment of sin is blood.
So we see animals (bulls, rams, goats, lambs) being sacrificed. God accepted the blood of these animals as payment made by the individual so that their own blood would not be required.
The animals were intended as substitutionary sacrifices. They served as the individual’s acknowledgement of their guilt before God. And that the only way to turn away His righteous wrath was the death of an animal on their behalf; as their substitute.
In other words, peace with God was obtained through the sacrifice of blood. No shedding of blood, no forgiveness of sins. That’s how forgiveness was received.
But this only lasted till the next sin was committed. And so in the sacrifice of these animals was the constant reminder of the hopelessness of the human condition. No matter how many animals were sacrificed, sin continued to make its presence felt in the human heart. And in the human conscience.
Thus, God instituted the practice of animal substitutionary sacrifice for a few reasons:
• To make humans realise just how utterly sinful they are; that they are prone to sin by their very nature.
• To make humans realise the enormity of their sin; because of the sheer amount of blood required to atone for it.
• To make humans realise that forgiveness is not achieved by good works, but through the death of another as their substitute.
• To make humans grieve over their sin; because it caused the death of another creature for no fault of theirs.
• To make humans look forward to a better sacrifice; one that would not only fully atone for their sins, but would do so once and for all. In a manner that would completely cleanse the conscience. And what’s more, that would take away their sin nature.
Enter Jesus: the true and perfect Lamb of God. Not only would His sacrifice suffice to take away the sins of the world. Not only was it adequate for all time. But it would also serve to cleanse the conscience.
His death on the cross was the once-and-for-all payment on behalf of sinners that would fully appease the righteous wrath of God. He paid in full the price that God demands for sin.
What this means is that the wrath and judgment of God towards the individual is completely satisfied and quenched because that wrath and judgment, in its full force, was poured out on Christ. His sacrifice cancels the debt of sin. His death achieves full pardon. Christ then not only achieves complete and eternal peace between the sinner and God; He, Himself, is our peace.
Christ absorbed the full blast of God’s punishment so that the sinner would not have to feel a thing.
That’s what happened on Good Friday.
IF GOOD FRIDAY ACHIEVES SO MUCH, WHAT’S THE NEED FOR EASTER?
If Jesus were to have remained in the grave, then there would be nothing remarkable about His death. He would have been no different to all those animals that had been offered as sacrifices for sin.
By raising Christ from the grave, God demonstrated that He was satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross on behalf of those who believe in Him.
Thus Easter is God’s final work in His masterplan for human redemption.
Whilst the first man sinned and plunged the rest of humanity into eternal and unavoidable death, this Man Jesus recovered a lost humanity to give them hope of eternal life.
His death paid the full and final price for sin. His resurrection delivered victory over sin. He died to settle a debt we could never pay. He rose to give us life that we could never gain by ourselves.
Good Friday says: The price for sin has been paid in full. Easter says: The payment has been accepted.
Good Friday says: God has made a way for you to escape His wrath. Easter says: God has made a way for you to gain eternal life.
Good Friday says: Because Jesus died for your sins, you don’t have to. Easter says: Because Jesus rose from the grave, so will you.
This is because Jesus’ resurrection is undeniable evidence that He has power over sin and death. What’s more, since the grave does not have any power over Him, it does not have any power over those who believe in Him.
If your sins are nailed to the cross of Christ, then you will rise from the grave, just as He arose!
If He has paid the price for your sin on Good Friday, then He has secured your resurrection on Easter as well!
This is what true grace is whereby undeserving sinners are welcomed into the presence of God AND BECOME HIS ADOPTED CHILDREN!!!
Not because they have earned it with their own good works. But because the work of Christ on their behalf has earned it for them.
This is the Gospel; the good news of Jesus Christ – that sinners no longer need to fear the judgment of God. Because Christ has borne that judgment for them. And because God raised Christ from the grave, He will also raise all those who place their trust in Him.
SIN PAID FOR IN FULL. ETERNAL LIFE SECURED. COULD IT GET ANY BETTER?
Yes, it can. Sure, it does.
The resurrection of Jesus not only means power and victory over death; it also means power and victory over sin.
As we have seen above, the price of sin is death. That’s the power that sin has — it causes death.
Therefore to overcome death would be to overcome sin. And that’s what the resurrection of Christ delivers for those who believe in Him — power over sin.
What needs to be understood is that the death of Christ has a two-fold meaning.
First, as we have discussed already, He dies as our substitute, paying in full the price of our sin; taking upon Himself the full punishment that should have rightfully fallen on us; soaking up the entire wrath of God so that God has no more condemnation towards us.
But second, and equally important, it wasn’t just Christ who was crucified on the cross; our sin nature was crucified along with Him. In other words, the cross is where Jesus died for our sin, and where we died to our sin. Which means that sin no longer holds any power over us.
Christ then is the greater and better sacrifice: His atoning work is once for all, cleansing the conscience, providing victory over death, and also victory over sin.
This is complete work of salvation. It is all of God and all of grace. It is achieved wholly and exclusively by God with no contribution from us.
DO YOU BELIEVE?
This great salvation is available to anyone who believes. To anyone who recognises the holiness of God, the magnitude of their offence towards Him, their absolute inability to do anything that will reduce His wrath against them, and the sufficiency of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on their behalf.
God makes this salvation available for free, because His Son has paid the ultimate price in His own blood.
However, this offer will not last forever. Because judgment is coming. And it will be executed by the Man whom God has raised from the dead – Jesus Christ.
May this Easter give you to pause to reflect on the implications of the resurrection of Christ for your life.
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. — Acts 17:30-31