“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
1 Peter 1:3
It was on a Friday that He died. His body had endured unimaginable pain and suffering. He bore the weight of the burden He had been asked to carry…alone, and abandoned. His lungs struggled to breathe until His body gave way and He offered Himself up to death. Then the sky grew dark and the earth itself shook in sorrow. We remember this day, and we call it “Good Friday.”
How could a day this grim, this dark and painful be called “good”? That Friday when the sinless Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, was the day that death was defeated, conquered by HIS death. And by His resurrection, HOPE was restored.
It is Friday again. Today there will be more death. People all of over world are dying, some from COVID-19, and some from any other reason that can steal the life from our physical bodies. We grieve, and we are sorrowful. For many, it feels like a dark and painful time, much like that Friday so many years ago. Lungs will struggle, and people will take their last breath. Now more than ever, we long for hope.
Thanks be to God, that no matter how grim the circumstances look around us, we have a secure hope, because of what happened when Jesus hung on the cross and gave His life as a ransom for sin. He tore the veil that separated us from the Father, and restored us to a hope that even death cannot separate us from Him.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Can you imagine the sorrow that those who loved Jesus felt on the day that He died? Can you relate to the fear that they felt thinking He was gone and they were left without His presence? Can you picture how they must have felt like Saturday was the longest day they had ever experienced? Maybe some even felt hopeless. Maybe your days are feeling long in this season, waiting and hoping…and waiting some more.
On Friday, He died. But by Sunday, the tomb was empty! Hope was fulfilled!
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day, just as He said He would. One day, He will come back to earth, to judge and to rule. Some people think this virus might be the start of things leading up to that. I don’t know if that is true. And neither does anyone else. The Bible clearly tells us that only the Father knows that information for sure.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
But I do know this for certain. I need to be ready. Every day that I wake up is one day closer to either my death or Christ’s return, whichever comes first. And since I don’t know the day or the hour for either of those events, why would I want to wait another day to give my life to Christ? Why wait and wonder, and doubt, when I can have the peace of knowing I will not be lost forever. Why reject the offer that no matter what sins I have committed, who I am, or where I come from, I am invited into His family and offered complete forgiveness? I do not have to pay a price or face a punishment because He has already done it for me. I can spend eternity with Him in heaven.
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The sad thing is not that we die, only that we might die without hope. This one thing I will never understand…Why do people reject the eternal hope that Jesus Christ offers to those who believe in Him as Lord and Savior? In all the wold, what better option is out there for the salvation of our souls and peace for our hearts?? There is no life apart from Him.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
We call today “Good” Friday, because no matter how dark it looks outside, we have hope. God is still in control. His plans are always accomplished; and He is undefeated! No sickness or death can take that hope away.
Do you have hope today? Do you hope that people will get well? Do you hope for a cure for this illness? Do you want life to get back to normal so we can see friends and family? Do you hope the economy will recover and your job will be safe? Do you hope to go out to restaurants or enjoy a sporting event? Those things are nice, but they offer no real security or lasting peace.
There is only ONE who is worthy of all our hope. There is only ONE who offers the peace that passes understanding, forgiveness from sin, and life everlasting. Have you placed the hope of your soul in the hands of the living, risen Savior? Have you given your life to the one who can hold you in the midst of a raging sea, a plague, or anything else life or death can throw at you?
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
I pray on this day, that your hope is set firmly and securely on the one who has overcome death. On Friday Jesus died, on Saturday they waited, and on Sunday He rose from the dead! This is truly the best “good news” the world has ever heard! Today is indeed a very “good” day!