It’s Good Friday today. Judging from their choice of graphics, Google seems to think either that Earth Day is more significant or more universally celebrated than Jesus’ death for us on the cross. We won’t argue them out of it, so let’s just pray for them, okay?
They’ll never persuade me that anything matters more than Christ’s death and resurrection. My mother-in-law is celebrating resurrection hope in heaven now. She smiled and slipped away from us at the end of a hymn my wife was singing to her. She hadn’t smiled that way—she hadn’t been able to—since her stroke on December 1. We believe God gave her back her smile at the end just so that she could let us know what a good journey she was undertaking.
That happened at about midday on Wednesday. Today, on Good Friday, Christians recall another death and call it good. It is good precisely because when Christ died, he carried away with him all the sin, evil, and pain of the world, for all time. It was the greatest redemptive and restorative act of all history.
It was also an act of combat with our one greatest enemy, death itself. Jesus Christ traveled the roadways of cruelty, injustice, and agony, on his way to do battle on death’s own turf . By dying he gave death every possible advantage over him. His friends and followers on that day only knew that he was gone to the place of death. They did not understand that he was there to do battle. He had descended to the darkest of places so that he could shine his light into all its otherwise hopeless corners.
Jesus Christ won the battle that day, and on the first Easter he emerged as victor with great glory. He defeated death’s despair, and transformed death itself: no longer hopeless, it was now, for those who long to see God, the doorway into his unveiled presence and the full realization of his life, love, and indescribable goodness.
Nevertheless we are missing my wife’s mom very badly right now. Death is still separation and loss for us here, and in that sense it is still a horrible enemy. Christ fully defeated spiritual death, but he let physical death continue for a season. Someday he’ll bring that to a complete end, too. “The last enemy to be defeated is death,” says the apostle Paul, who also goes on to say,
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God indeed!
If you are not confident of the hope that my mother-in-law and the rest of our family have been able to hold on to, please find out more about what Christ and Christianity are all about. By all means contact me directly if you want to talk about it.
Christ conquered death for all, and he offers everyone a share in that victory, but he offers it as a gift for us to accept. We have a choice to make, for it is possible to reject his gift, in which case we must each fight our own fight with death. You and I are not equipped to do battle on death’s home turf. Only Christ could be victor there.
I urge you to make the choice to accept his gift. Here is one clear presentation of how you can go about doing that. Make this Good Friday and Easter weekend the time that you gain the hope of victory!
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