Friday, March 18, 2016
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-15(NLT)
A week from tonight the candle will flicker and go out. For some years now Good Friday has been one of my favored services of worship. There is something about the readings depicting Christ’s mission and passion, the mournfulness of songs rehearsing His suffering, blood and death, and the silence, which grips my soul and moves me to tears.
Sounds like a crowd-pleaser, eh? Well, if it’s truly a Christian crowd….well, then yes!
It’s been so long ago I cannot recall where I read the story of the little boy who was sitting with his parents in church watching a quite realistic dramatic presentation of Jesus being nailed to the cross. The church drama team had gone to great lengths to recreate the bloody scene, complete with the pounding of spikes into the hands and feet of Jesus. They hoisted him up and the scene ended with a loud gasping cry of the Savior, and then His limp head and body hanging pitifully in the picture of death. The little boy was heard as he whispered a question to his Dad: Why did Jesus have’ta die?
Indeed; good question, little man!
The writer of Hebrews recorded the answer to our child’s question two millennia before it was asked: by dying, and then rising from the dead, Jesus broke the power of death.
Scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death. This is the echo of Adam and Eve’s punishment in the Garden of Eden. The first sin introduced death to Adam’s race, and we have been choosing that pathway ever since.
And that has been the theological “pickle” for humankind ever since.
As sin requires the penalty of death, no human being can actually pay that penalty and still have life. It is a debt we are all powerless to meet. Jesus’ sinless life as a human being meant he was without that debt, and when he submitted willingly to die on the cross, the power of sin was broken eternally.
So…the correct answer for our little man’s question in the church crowd is that Jesus had to die…for us…for our sins…to take away the penalty of the power of sin.
And a better question is also answered by this same moment of the flickering candle going out on Friday, when the light of the world seemed to be extinguished on Calvary’s hill:
· The question – what does it mean that Jesus got out of the grave?
· The answer – it means He lives…and He said we could too!
Maybe today is a good day to pull out that calendar and make sure nothing will interfere with you attending the events of Holy Week at your church.
You don’t really have anything better to celebrate than that; do you?