By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with Him, make us fit for Him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.
Romans 5:1-8 (The Message)
Today is "Good Friday", traditionally recognized by millions of people across the world as the day that the man called Jesus was crucified on a cross. But, what makes the horrific death of one of the most respected persons in history something to be considered "good"?
Death is usually not a welcome topic for people to think or even talk about.
Crucifixion is, by all accounts, one of the most painful and gruesome ways to end a life.
For those who knew and loved Christ, His death certainly had to seem like a hopeless and untimely end of the Messiah's journey.
Perhaps, there is no such thing as a "bad" situation in life. Certainly, there are poor choices we can make, but if God desires the "best" for our lives, isn't He willing and able to use each and every situation for "good"? He certainly turned Christ's death into the greatest good ever known to man...can't He also turn the "horrible" situations (even those that involve death) in my life into something good? And, maybe He doesn't actually "turn" those situations...maybe all along, they are good no matter what our human minds and emotions want to tell us.
God hasn't called us to worship Him despite our "bad" situation...He wants us to worship Him because of our "bad" situation. This is why today is "Good" Friday...not just because Christ rose from the dead three days later, but also because his death on the cross was, in and of itself, a good thing...the greatest thing.
If you're nearby, I invite you to join us this evening at Nags Head Church 7pm and again on Easter Sunday Morning at 7, 9 or 11am as we look at the big picture of that beautiful scandalous night.
At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night, You and me
Were atoned by His blood
Forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night