Despite continuing to be plagued by anxiety about what my future after graduation (which is 3 weeks and 1 day away) holds, I feel the need to put the little “mini series” I’ve been writing on here about such things on hold. Christmas got several posts; it seems wrong of me to let Easter slip by without a mention.
My reason for writing is bigger than that though.
In a word, it’s…
This semester I have been blessed to be in a class in which we are studying the Gospel of John, and the textbook (The NIV Application Commentary by Gary Burge) has been great. I also recently finished the book The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, and my church has recently started going through the Bible study curriculum for it. All of these things have been adding up, giving me a new understanding and appreciation for Jesus, and more specifically, why Good Friday and Easter are…well, kind of a big deal.
On Sunday I helped in the preschool class at church, and the kids watched a short video about Jesus’ trial and death. There were some minor inaccuracies that bugged me a bit, but it got me thinking…the crucifixion is not really a story for kids. Yet at the same time, it’s the most important part of the story of Christianity; to get rid of it or gloss over it is to lose the key part of what it means to believe in Jesus.
I always thought the point of Good Friday was to be sad that Jesus died, then on Easter, it was my job to be happy that he rose from the dead to save me from my sins.
Now, I think I may have been missing the point.
Jesus knew exactly what was going on when he was crucified. For him, death was victory. His death meant that he accomplished what he had been sent to do, and my sins would now be paid for. In a sense, it is tragic; if I were capable of being perfect, his death would have been unnecessary.
But in a bigger sense, it is truly, and incredibly, amazing. That Jesus would love me so much that he would willingly give his life for me. That’s the crucial part I feel like I’ve never truly grasped before: Jesus wasn’t a victim on the cross, he was a victor.
Easter is a victory as well, but that’s something that has been communicated to me quite clearly over the years. Easter is the happy day, because Jesus rose from the dead, showing his to-the-core divinity for all the world to see. It’s an obvious reason to celebrate. Maybe Good Friday deserves some celebration too though. It’s a different kind of victory, but it’s a victory all the same. The victory of Jesus fulfilling his purpose, of choosing to become the sacrifice so I don’t have to. Trading his righteousness for my uncleanness, and making it so when God looks at me, he sees Jesus’ perfection; not my stains.
So much grace, so much love, it’s unfathomable. Grace that gives me what I don’t deserve, and love that covers all my failure.
Grace, grace, grace.
Love, love, love.
Victory in death.
Til next time…