If for some reason you didn’t realize it, we are in the midst of Holy Week. On Friday, billions around the world celebrated Good Friday. On Sunday, they will do the same for Easter. For the Christian, Easter Sunday is “The Day”; much like Yom Kippur is “The Day” for Jews. But unlike Jewish, or even Muslim, holy days ours is altogether different.
Some two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth was arrested on bogus charges, he went through a series of false trials and was humiliated, he went to the cross after being beaten and flogged, he died on that cross, he was buried in a rock-hewn tomb and then days later he rose from the grave.
This is not just a story. This is not just a myth. This is historical fact. This really happened and that is why we celebrate Easter.
God, in his infinite wisdom sent the Son to live among us in a particular time and place in history. God, in that same wisdom had a plan for salvation because of his love for us and his desire to reconcile all things to himself through one final sacrifice.
The Word is true; God is love. But do not be mistaken and believe that love is God. God’s love is pure- both affectionate and active. In our culture and day it is easy to think of love only in terms of desire, affection or affinity. “For God so loved the world THAT he gave…” John 3:16-21. God’s love is active. His love does something. God’s love is efficacious!
God is love (1 John 4:8-10), but God is also Just (1 John 1:9), Righteous (Psalm 7:11), Holy, Sovereign (Isaiah 55:9), Merciful (Psalm 116:5, Joel 2:13), Judge (Psalm 7:11), etc. God has several attributes to his God-ness. It would be sinful to elevate one attribute over the others, thus becoming blind to the fullness of who God is and what he has done through the Cross that Christ was sacrificed on.
In no way do we believe in “divine child abuse”. We fully believe that God sent his Son and He laid down is life for us freely (John 10:17-18). Jesus is our perfect sacrifice; he atoned the sins of the world. God’s wrath was satisfied in the death of His begotten Son. That is why we celebrate on Good Friday and Easter Sunday; because he didn’t just die for our sins, but He rose from the sting of Death to become our victorious King. A God that we could actually worship!
Some would state that Jesus never claimed that he was God. This is absurd because in John’s Gospel alone Jesus refers to his divinity and relation to God the Father several times.
Jesus’ “I Am” Statements in The Gospel of John
|Absolute “I am” statements (John 6:20; 8:24, 58; 18:5)|
Metaphorical “I am” statements
|1. I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 48, 51)|
|2. I am the light of the world ( John 8:12; 9:5)|
|3. I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7, 9)|
|4. I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14)|
|5. I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)|
|6. I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)|
This is good news. This is the Gospel. The reason that we can call what happened to Jesus two thousand years ago good news is because he took upon himself what we deserved- God’s out-poured wrath and separation from God the Father- so that we could experience what we don’t deserve- restored relationship with God the Father and the joy of eternal life. On that day He substituted his perfection for our sinfulness. On that day His blood covered a multitude of sins so that we might be restored back to the Father. And that is why we celebrate.