Here is a story I heard about two famous evangelists.
At the outset of his ministry, evangelist B worked for evangelist A. At one point, evangelist B violated company policy regarding a serious issue; however, evangelist A agonized over imposing the fine that was required to satisfy the violation because he knew his subordinate didn’t have the money. Nevertheless, justice due, he called the guilty one into his office and explained what was required in compensation. He then pulled out his own wallet and paid the price himself.
I’ve always thought this story a good representation of what Christ did for us on Good Friday. Justice mandated fair compensation for sin damage, but because man, flawed, could not offer a perfect sacrifice/payment for his wrong doing God devised a plan. Like evangelist A, He paid it Himself–through His Son, Jesus.
Starting late that Thursday night and culminating Friday afternoon, the apex of his earthly ministry, Jesus set aside his power to change water into wine, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons, and He yielded to God’s wrath–in our place. For us, He submitted to the curse of the cross–our cross.
Jesus took our scourging, bruising, battering, rejection, and death, paying our debt to the finish. But the story doesn’t stop there…
Saturday, all was quiet, if tense, on the Middle Eastern front.
As Jesus’ body lay in the tomb, no doubt the disciples mourned, non-believers shook their heads, Satan howled, and creation held its breath. But I imagine heaven was a-buzz and a-glory.
I imagine God the Father threw quite a celebration starting about the middle of the afternoon on Friday, the day Jesus finished working the redemption plan, the day God opened the great book of our transgressions and canceled the debts of all who have and who will accept his Son’s payment on their behalf.
And I imagine paradise was rejoicing with preparations for day three: the day life literally defied death, justice defied logic, and the spirit of the law supplanted the letter of the law. The day a Man bound in blood-encrusted burial linens and shrouded in the stink of death rose from a cold, hard slab in a sealed tomb to walk free of the wreckage of our sin–for us–and into the light of a new covenant–with us–one accessed by faith, powered by love, and made possible by Him.
A Man Who invites us, by faith, to follow Him today–this story, never-ending.
The plan all along.
Consider: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJB).
Image from the public domain: Empty Tomb by Bob Lythgoe http://www.clker.com/search/jesus+empty+tomb/1
Cross image from the public domain.