Good Friday is the holiest and most solemn day of the year. Approximately 2000 years ago on this day — our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross.
Now why did He do that? Why did Jesus step out of heaven — where He had lived for all eternity — to come to our sinful world? Why would He agree to suffer and die a horrible death on the cross? Why would He leave an existence of perfect love and perfect harmony and perfect peace — which He had enjoyed with the Father and the Holy Spirit for all eternity. This was a relationship in which They were totally self-contained and had everything they needed. Why would Jesus do that?
The Bible tells us He did it because He loves us, and He wanted to free us from our bondage to sin. He wanted to have an eternal relationship with us in Heaven, but sin was in the way. So He paid the penalty for all sin — so it could be removed.
But – you might ask — how did this problem originate in the first place? How did human beings come into existence, and how did sin become a problem? Well, to get the answer we need to understand God’s motivation.
You see God decided to share His existence. In other words, He decided to have a family — so, He created the heavens and the earth. And He created the first human beings — Adam and Eve to be the progenitors of family He desired.
God created them in His own image – which means He gave them a free will and an intellect. However, God gave them a test to be sure they were completely committed to Him. He asked them not to eat the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden of Eden. God told them if they did — they would know the difference between good and evil. That’s a description of what is commonly called the sin nature.
Well, we know Adam and Eve failed the test, and they did acquire the sin nature. They came to know the difference between good and evil, and since they had free wills – they had the capability of choosing evil. Since we are direct descendants of Adam and Eve — we have inherited their sin nature as well. Consequently, we periodically choose evil — which is called sin — and sin separates us from God.
God anticipated this might happen, so He developed a plan to deal with it. You see each sin that is committed carries a penalty that has to be paid. That’s not an unusual idea. You break a law – there’s a penalty. For example – if you ran a red light – you could get a ticket and have to pay a fine.
Romans 6:23 says the penalty for sin is death. Now there’s two kinds of death. The first is physical death – which we will all experience at some point. And then there’s what the Bible calls the “second death”. The “second death” is defined as spending eternity in hell — after we leave this world. That’s the penalty for sin that Romans 6:23 is talking about.
The problem is human beings can’t stop sinning. The sin nature is constantly at work, so, the penalties for sin keep piling up, and if nothing is done about this problem — all human beings will end up in hell.
But God doesn’t want anybody to go to hell. He loves us – and in spite of our sinfulness — He still wants to spend eternity with us in heaven. So, God decided to pay everybody’s death penalty for them. God is perfectly just, and He can’t overlook any sin, but He is also perfectly merciful. So, He decided to satisfy the punishment that all human beings deserve in hell. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. Jesus took our death penalty for us. He died in our place.
But this raises a question. Jesus is God — He’s eternal – which means He can’t die. So how could He pay our death penalty in our place? Well, the answer is He took on human form, so He could die in our place.
And since He has infinite value – His death satisfied all the death penalties that all human beings deserve. That puts God’s scale of justice into perfect balance.
Now, when Jesus became a human being, He retained His deity. He couldn’t stop being God, so He just took on an additional nature. John 1:14 says Jesus became flesh. And while on earth He lived a morally perfect life. And then at the right time, He satisfied the penalty for every sin committed by every human being – past, present and future. He did it by dying on the cross.
In the ninth hour of His crucifixion Jesus said, “It is finished”, meaning the penalties for all sin were paid in full. And then He bowed His head and died. At that moment, the huge tapestry in the Jewish temple was torn in half from top to bottom. This tapestry separated the Holy of Holies (where God dwelt) from the rest of the temple. It symbolized the separation between God and man due to sin. And since the penalty for all sin was paid by Jesus – there was no longer any reason for separation. So, this huge tapestry — weighing tons — was torn in half from top to bottom — like a piece of paper.
So, what should be our response to this? Our response is to accept Jesus’ payment for our sins and ask God to forgive us. We can do that through prayer.
Dear God, I accept Jesus payment for my sins. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me of all my wrongdoing – past – present – future. I also ask You to come into my life and change me. Lord, I do not deserve any of this, but You have done it anyway. I am so thankful. In Jesus name, I pray.