Have you ever found yourself struggling to stay focused on the real reason for Easter? It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism and the “fun” stuff like candy, egg hunts, and new clothes. But even beyond those things, I think it’s easy for us to (unintentionally) lose sight of the deep meaning behind Holy Week, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday.
We recognize that Jesus died, of course. And we know that because Jesus died, we are able to live. But I think we tend to miss the "how" and "why" that connect those two things.
We talk about death being defeated. We talk about Jesus being the true King. We talk about his blood making us clean. But do we really remember why his blood made us clean?
It's not just about Jesus dying. At least, not in the way that we tend to think.
Yes, Jesus died. We just forget why.
Yes, we know it was for us. But why was it for us?
Romans 3:23 reminds us all of our sin. And Romans 6:23 points out that sin earns for us death. Both now and later, at the end - the second death. We know that God doesn't lie or change his mind. We know that our sin means we deserve hell. But we can trick ourselves into thinking, "Well, if I just ask God, he'll forgive me."
What's wrong with this, you ask? Let's put it like this....
Let's just imagine that I went out and committed a murder. They caught me, but I wouldn't admit to it (you know, trying to get out of it), so I was sent to trial. The prosecutor presented the evidence and the jury said I did it, no doubt about it. I get a pit in my stomach, as now it's time for sentencing. And the judge asks is there anything I have to say for myself before he sentences me. I see my chance and take it. I fall down on my face and begin to beg, with tears streaming down my face, that the judge would forgive me, that the family would forgive me. I promise that I'll never do it again, and I'll make up for it somehow if they'd just forgive me.
Do you think the judge is going to let me go free?
Even if all those people forgave me, I'd still have to go to prison.
It seems quite obvious, doesn't it? I committed a crime, and I have to pay the price.
We committed a crime against God. Sin. (Actually, more than "a" crime, but many.) Yet we think God can just ignore it, sweep it under the rug, forget about it, and forgive us. But we forget that God is just - how could He be just if He did not punish us for our sin? give us what our sin has earned for us?
Somebody has to pay the price.
You can't go to hell to pay for your sin and then go to heaven - because it would take forever to pay the price.
And I can't pay for your sin, just as you can't pay for mine - because we each have our own.
The only way we could be delivered is if someone without sin would take the punishment for us.
We see the suffering of Jesus, the beatings, the humiliation, then curses that were thrown at him, and the physical pain he endured on that cross, and we stand in awe.
But that's not all Jesus endured on the cross.
Because while Jesus was on that cross, God was pouring out all the wrath and punishment that we deserve onto Jesus.
Everything that you and I deserve in hell for our rebellion against God was being heaped onto Jesus.
Jesus became our sin.
And when he had finished enduring the wrath of God against all mankind for eternity, he bowed his head and said, "It is finished."
How amazing that the son of God would choose to take my punishment and yours?
It’s far too easy to make even the spiritual side of Easter solely about us. We can quickly fall into the mindset that Jesus suffered and died because of how amazing we are, rather than remembering that Jesus died while were his enemies. While we were in rebellion against Him. While we were rejecting Him.
Jesus didn’t die to glorify us –
In a word: passionate.