Yesterday was Maundy Thursday. On Thursday before the crucifixion, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, then invited them to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and finally was arrested and taken to trial.
Tomorrow is Good Friday – such a strange way to refer to the day when Jesus died. And yet, we know it was a good thing because without Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary we would still be stuck in our sins, unable to find God on our own.
This Sunday we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And what a celebration it is. We sing songs of the power and mercy of God. We will be reminded that Jesus is alive, and that because he is alive, we can live forever, too. There will be sunrise services, musicals, new outfits and family gatherings.
I am aware that the word Easter is not a biblical term, but I am so glad that we celebrate that day. The truth is that every Sunday is a reminder of Easter. Because Jesus was raised from the dead early Sunday morning, we now refer to that day as "the Lord’s Day," and we worship him each week.
But can I remind you of the need to ponder the events that led to the empty tomb? Don’t get me wrong. I want us to celebrate Easter. But I want us to also remember that the cross and Calvary are essential to that celebration.
Jesus had to die. Many struggle with that thought today. Why was this necessary?
Jesus had to die because our sin is so serious it caused what would have been a gap that we could never cross to get to God. Our sin is so ugly. We like to think of ourselves as "good people." But the truth is, without the sacrifice of Jesus, we are lost.
Certainly, the crucifixion would have been a defeat of God without the resurrection. But the resurrection could not have happened without the cross.
Take time tomorrow to reflect on what Jesus did for you. The pain and the sorrow of the cross display the love of God in the greatest possible way. Thanks be to him for his marvelous grace!