THE WORD IS
ON GOOD FRIDAY
In one of our hymns we sing:
"O Holy Spirit, help me see
That Jesus bled and died for me,
That all my sins on Him were laid
And with His blood my debt was paid
That I might be forever free
And live with Him eternally."
By nature we do not want this type of a suffering, crucified Savior. When Jesus began to announce to His disciples that He would die on the cross and rise from the dead on the third day, Peter was offended. He took Jesus aside and began to admonish Him.
Peter admonishing Jesus!
All of us are undoubtedly shocked by Peter's behavior. But the unbelieving people of the world still join him in crying: Not the simple word of the Cross and grace, not a Jesus like this! But how discomfiting for Peter was that which followed. Jesus, speaking to him, said: "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (Matt.16:23). A man who rejects the crucified Christ is not fit to be an apostle of Jesus. Not then, not now. Peter, however was a humbled man, whose conscience was pricked by Jesus' admonition. He heeded the admonition. Despite his deed he became an apostle and testified: "You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:18,19). This is how we must preach yet today.
Jesus died for our sins. Without His suffering, only eternal damnation, anguish and pain would be our lot. Jesus' suffering did not consist of just ordinary human pain. He was under God's wrath. He cried: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mark 15:34). Both in His body and soul He experienced what that meant. Our sins had been charged to Him. He bore them for us, as our Substitute. His suffering helped us. It atoned for our sins. Now our debt of sin has been paid in full; once and for all; forever. Jesus proved this to be true by rising from the dead as the Victor. God's love has become manifest in the crucified One. But bear in mind: nowhere else. Only by fleeing to Christ our Refuge will we saved from wrath.
A high price was paid for our redemption: the blood of God's Son. Great is also the peace we now enjoy. Let us rejoice because of it! You too, dear friend, believe this, even though you might think that forgiveness of sins does not apply to you. Forget your excuses. Just hold fast to God's grace and continue to hold on to it as one who is drowning holds on to a life preserver. It is for you. "Christ Jesus... gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:6).