Today is Good Friday. It’s an odd name for this day, in a way. We Christians pause to remember and honor Jesus’ crucifixion, a gruesome, violent event. Over the last few years I’ve noted that some critics of Christianity try to use this event as a wedge. They ask, who wants to follow a religion with such things in it? The reason is that the crucifixion was a gate of sorts, a passage, a bridge. It is a path from darkness to light, a trail that only Jesus could blaze. Jesus’ sacrifice–once for all, for all humanity–is a gift. Consider the following:
Jesus paid our way to heaven–all we must do is believe in Him (and that belief will lead to obedience to all he commands, if it is true belief). (John 1:12-13; John 3:14-18; John 5:24; John 6:40; John 6:47; John 10:27-29; John 11:25-26)
Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit upon belief in Him, to reside in us and to help us to live the Christian life. (John 7:38-39; John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 16:7-8; John 16:12-14; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:26; Galatians 5:22-23)
Jesus gives us peace, even in the midst of this dark age. (John 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7)
Jesus will return for His own. (John 14:1-3)
Those who trust in Jesus will be with him in heaven, a place of incomparable beauty, a place without suffering. (Revelation 21:4)
All who live in this world have experienced God’s goodness (Matthew 5:44-45). This goodness should lead us to trust God, and he gives each of us a lifetime to make the decision to follow him or to reject him.
I praise Jesus for entering the world, for living the same life I must live, for suffering as I suffer and more, for leaving us with instructions for this life and a way to follow him into eternity. Thank you, Lord, for living, suffering, dying, and rising again that I too may rise one day.