The events that we remember on this day might seem anything but good.
Shortly after Jesus entered Jerusalem, He was betrayed by one of his closest friends. He was arrested and tried in secret, then accused of blasphemy by the religious leaders in Jerusalem because he claimed to be the Son of God. He was beaten, spat upon, slapped in the face, flogged, tortured, and brought before the people. There were no palm branches or red carpet welcomes this time. As he was presented to the same crowds who welcomed him days before, instead of crying out “Hosanna!” they shouted “Crucify!” And so he was crucified, nailed to a cross of wood beside two thieves. The Son of God, sinless, blameless, and innocent, was left to die.
He said few words on the cross, but they were powerful. He offered forgiveness to one of the thieves who asked to be remembered in Heaven. He asked the Father to forgive those who were putting him to death. He cried, “Abba, why have you forsaken me!” He experienced the wrath due every sinner for every sin, though none of them were His own. Lastly, he said something that would change humanity forever. Something that has echoed in hearts for over 2000 years: “IT IS FINISHED!” He breathed his last breath and gave up his life. He was taken down from the bloody cross by his own mother and brother and placed into a sealed tomb.
Why is any of this good?
Oh, the greatness of God’s mercy toward us! Jesus bore the wrath of God on our behalf. We do not have to pay the penalty owed because of our sin. The death-wages of sin were covered by the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, on the cross. His shed blood and death on the cross was accepted as the final and perfect atonement for all our sin…. and that is a very “good” thing! He paid it all and all to Him we owe!
What great news. What an epic event! But the story does not end here. There was still a work to be done. What happened next would go down as the greatest victory of all time.
To be continued…..