You see it on social media, you hear it around your church friends, and you may have even said it…
“…but Sunday’s coming!”
Yes, yes, Sunday is coming.
But, while Sunday is coming, there could not be a Sunday without a Friday. While the work of the resurrection is great and important, it is nothing without the important work that was done on Friday morning. We can shout for joy for the new, eternal life in Christ, but we must never forget the work that was done on Friday.
While it is not the kind of thing we like to celebrate: death, sin, blood dripping, sweat-drenched, body of Christ hanging on a Roman cross, it was necessary. Without Friday we cannot have Sunday. And it is true for our lives, as well.
Without doing the work of crucifying our sin, and accepting the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in our place, we cannot fully appreciate or even reflect, on the resurrected life we can now live in Christ.
We give so much fanfare for the resurrection, Our God has Risen indeed, but we fail to fully comprehend what was done on that cross.
In order to fully comprehend what happened on the cross, we can look to the only words Christ spoke as he hung there for us.
The 5 Phrases Christ Spoke on the Cross and What They Mean for Us
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NIV)
During His time on the cross, in agony, as we have never experienced before, Jesus looks to the heavens and thinks not of himself, but of the ones who are responsible for his death. Not just the Roman soldiers and the Pharisees, but I believe He thought of us all. We are all responsible for His death. He had to die so we could live. He had to die so we could crucify our own sins to the cross. This was a beautiful exchange, one orchestrated by the God of Heaven, so we could live without spot or blemish. The blood of Christ covers us and our sins so that we can live with God in Heaven one day. The forgiveness of sins was accomplished in His death, and while dying, Christ requested it be so. His death meant the forgiveness of sins, just as he asked.
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NIV)
There is no time like the present. We can do nothing about our past, and our future is never promised. So, when Christ looks at this thief on the cross beside Him, even in his pain, Christ is resolving the issues in the man’s life so he can be with Jesus in eternity. This is good news for you and me, as well. As we see so many times, there are few of us who truly know when our death is imminent. Jesus shows us how important it is to make sure our destinies are sealed before we leave this earth. We have such a glorious honor to live our lives prepared for eternity in Heaven. It is such a shame to see even one soul lost to this world. Before you prepare to celebrate Sunday for all its glory, be sure you have partaken in the decision to seal your fate for the Kingdom.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46 (NIV)
And by this one decision, one choice, the Lord showed us all how to release control of our circumstances, and choose God’s will and God’s way. Even in the hardest times of our lives, when it seems like all is lost, like we are going to lose, like the pain of this world has its hold on us, we too can commit our lives, our spirits, to the One who rescued and redeemed us to Himself for all eternity. Jesus shares with us His one choice for life: the Father. There are many choices available to us today, but only one leads us to lay down our lives and live for the Father, and that choice is Jesus.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mt 27:46 (NIV)
I often find myself asking this same question at times when my life seems especially difficult. As a child, I never understood why God turned His back on His one and only Son. But as an adult, I can see how it was so necessary. Because Jesus on the cross was Jesus who took on our sins. The sins of the world rested on Him, so God had to turn his back on Christ because He could not exist in the space where our sin existed. This is a hard pill to swallow, and at times in our lives when we have chosen sin over Jesus, we can attest to the difficulties of living in such a way that we can actually feel God’s back against us. This is not His way, not the way he wants to relate to us. It is important that we see God and know His ways. It is best if we choose Jesus over sin, and never feel forsaken by the God who promises never to forsake us.
“It is finished.” John 19:30 (NIV)
“It is finished” is probably my favorite promise in the Bible. He does not say this for God’s benefit. He says it for ours. In case you are wondering if there is ever anything you can do to get on God’s good side, or if there is any way you can stop doing x,y,z in order to be welcomed by God, just remember these three words, “It is finished.” There is nothing now, nor will there ever be, anything we can do, say, think, or feel, to change how God feels about us. God loves us. He cannot love us any more than the cross. Nor can He loves us any less. You and I can try as hard as we want to, there is nothing we can do to add to or take away what Jesus did for us on that Friday morning when they took His body, nailed it to the cross, and lifted it up for the world to see just “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep” (Eph 3:18) is the love of Christ.
We are so grateful for Resurrection Sunday, but I hope with these simple words today you will understand just how much more important is the work that is done for us on Friday that links us to that blessed Sunday. May we never forget the sacrifice that led to the celebration that is Easter weekend. God bless you!