Easter week is about victory. It is about God’s triumph in bringing life from death; the dawning of the kingdom in the rising of the Son. Easter songs are the songs of eternity, and the very climax of God’s plan of redemption.
And yet Holy week isn’t only about joy.
It is also about treason, darkness, and murder. It is about the holy and innocent One, denied, rejected, defiled, and destroyed. This is the valley of darkness that Jesus must pass through to bring the beautiful joy of Easter morning: he must be condemned, tortured, rejected and killed. He must suffer at the hands of sinful men, come under the curse of God’s law, and bear the full weight of God’s holy wrath in our place. Nowhere in the universe does God proclaim our guilt more loudly than the cross. And nowhere is our guilt more evident.
We crucified the author of life. There will never be a more horrific sin than this. If the story of the world ended with the cross…human beings would be worthy of God’s most violent justice, His wrath without pity or restraint, His most merciless vengeance. But praise God the cross is not the end…the cross is the way to Easter morning. And we must never forget what Easter morning cost our Savior. As you prepare for our Good Friday service, please spend some time reflecting on what the bible says happened when Jesus was lifted up on Calvary’s hill.
- He was reviled and subjected to suffering (1 Pet 2:22-23) “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when he suffered he did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.”
- He was forsaken by everyone (Isaiah 53:3) “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
- He was pierced by nails to bear our sins in His own body (1 Pet 2:24) “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
- He bled to accomplish our redemption (Eph 1:7) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace.”
- He was humiliated and shamed (Mt 27:28-29) “And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand…they mocked him…”
- He was crucified and murdered at the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:23) “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
- He was accursed of God by hanging on the tree (Gal 3:13) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. As it is written ‘cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”
- As One accursed, God treated Him as the embodiment of human sin (2 Cor 5:21) “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
- He became our wrath satisfying substitute (Rom 3:25) “…[Jesus Christ] God put forward as a propitiation by His blood…”
- He suffered a real, physical, final death to destroy the devil (Heb 2:14) “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he Himself likewise partook of the same things that through death he might destroy the one who has he power of death, that is the devil”
May the horror of Good Friday help you to see more purely the beauty and triumph of Easter morning!