I woke up this morning knowing I had to write this post. We do not usually delve too deeply into religious matters here at The Patriot, but I woke up feeling that I had a responsibility to use this platform that God has given me to post this simple message, telling our readers why we celebrate today and this entire Easter weekend.
Today is Good Friday. Nearly 2,000 years ago on this day, Jesus was crucified:
As they were on the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. Then they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill). The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.
After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Two criminals were crucified with him, their crosses on either side of his. And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “So! You can destroy the Temple and build it again in three days, can you? Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
The leading priests, the teachers of religious law and the other leaders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him! He trusted God—let God show his approval by delivering him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the criminals who were crucified with him also shouted the same insults at him.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Leave him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah will come and save him.”
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus’ resurrection. They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:32-55)
Thank God, the story doesn’t end there. They put Jesus in a tomb on Friday, but on Sunday, he rose from the dead. In doing so, he fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, and he conquered death. That is certainly worth celebrating.
Growing up, the Easter story was almost like a fairytale. I heard it so much in Sunday school and in daily bible classes, it was almost just a piece of folklore, as awful as that sounds. But as I grow older and grow more in my faith, this story continues to take on new meaning for me. I understand more about sin, forgiveness, life, and even death. I have never had a greater understanding or greater thankfulness for what Jesus did.
I don’t really have a profound conclusion to this article (what could be more profound than Jesus coming to earth, dying, and raising from the dead?). I just want to encourage you to really reflect on what he did for us, what he did for you.
If you’ve grown up in church and been over-saturated with Easter your whole life, don’t let this year be the same! There is immeasurable power in the story of the cross & resurrection. Ask God to make it new to you. He will.
And if you don’t know Jesus or you’ve never experienced the power of the Easter story, I encourage you to read Matthew 27 & 28 for yourself. God will reveal his power to you.
Today, nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus died so that we could live for eternity. He defeated death by death. He paid the price for our sins so that we don’t have to. That’s what makes this a truly good Friday.