From HAVEN NEWS Easter 2017
Any person’s death is a sad thing. If a person dies who was famous or popular or important then the tragedy will seem all the greater. The more people will mourn their death. The better we knew a person and the more we cared about them, the sadder it is that they are gone. We weep and mourn for loved ones we have lost! Should we not also mourn the death of Jesus Christ? And such an agonising death!
Terrible suffering and a horrible death. What a waste, what a loss to the world. And 33 is oh, so young to die! What could possibly be ‘good’ in that? We should be sad! And surely we might also be very surprised that the day when the world remembers the death of Jesus Christ should be called ‘good’ Friday. We might well be surprised that the instrument of Jesus’s suffering and execution, the cross, should have become the supreme symbol of the Christian faith.
To understand why Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ with rejoicing instead of sadness, there are two important questions to answer. Who died? And why? If Jesus was any ordinary man, his death would be a tragedy, but it would be no more significant than the death of any other martyr and hero. But Jesus himself claimed to be much more important than that. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. As Christians we worship Jesus as nothing less than God the Son living as a human being, the Creator entering into His creation to put it right again. But then since that is WHO Jesus is, surely our sadness will be even greater! God Himself – crucified! The creator murdered by His creation! The key to the mystery, of course, lies in WHY Jesus died. Jesus’s death was the key to God’s plan of salvation for the whole world.
There is a green hill far away, Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all.
The Bible explains for us why Christ had to die. When God made the world everything was perfect. But humankind has spoilt God’s world by selfishness and pride and sin. Our rebellion has made us all into God’s enemies. The Bible tells us that Jesus lived and died to make it possible for us to return to God and to be changed from God’s enemies into God’s friends.
That is why Christians celebrate today as ‘Good’ Friday. The death of Jesus is indeed good news. Jesus’s death on the cross is the way back to God for all who trust and follow Him. That is why we call Jesus our Saviour. Through Jesus, anyone can receive God’s free gift of forgiveness and eternal life, a relationship with God which not even death can take away. It brings us forgiveness and eternal life, life in all its fullness. This is the Easter Good News!