Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday: God's Plan

I was listening to the radio this morning and the announcer said that Good Friday is good because all evil combined against Christ, brought Jesus to the cross and then it was overcome.  I disagree with the connotation in part of that statement. 

Yes, evil was overcome at the cross (defeated already at the cross but it will be fully expelled when Christ returns), and, indeed, our payment for the evil and sin we do was paid in full, but evil didn't place Jesus there.  Jesus submitted to the cross and was led there by God the Father.  Yes, God put Jesus on the cross. There is a big difference between understanding Jesus chose the cross in obedience and thinking Jesus was just a victim of the evil in the world, a victim who later overcame it. 

If we think Jesus was a victim, a martyr of bad humanity, then we don't fully grasp His love and sacrifice for us.  In Luke 22:42 He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,“'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.'”  Jesus submitted to the Father's will to pour God's wrath upon Him so we would be covered, forgiven, clean, debtless and reconciled in Christ Jesus.  He stepped up to the cross with full knowledge of what He was doing and facing.  It was the plan all along.

He willingly humbled himself for us.  God USED our evil, the taunts and pride of Christ's accusers, for His good plan.  God is sovereign and all powerful.  Evil NEVER had the upperhand or decided the plot in Christ's time on earth.  God has control.  He is the I Am.

God could have long ago wiped us out like in the days of Noah.  God could have erased us and our evil in a single word.  Someday He will indeed judge and cast away sinners--those who do not repent and turn to Christ in faith--to Hell.  In addition, though, because He is just and loving, He had a plan of reconciliation from the beginning.  He was PLEASED to pour His punishment upon His own son for us.  He is kind and good enough to offer LIFE to those who repent and trust in Christ.

Isaiah 53:10-11 says, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.

So remember today that Christ was not a helpless victim, a martyr or a powerless man nailed to the cross by sin and evil.  He is God--purposefully come in the form of man--so He could willingly submit to God's wrath and free us.  He chose the cross because He knows He, God, is just.  He knows there is payment for sin and we humans are wicked--all of us.  We are dead in our transgressions.  He chose the cross because His justice is side by side with His love.  He desires that we all may come to repentance and be saved.  We may be raised to life with Christ.  Glory to God!  Praise Him!  Jesus is Lord!

Philippians 2:5-11
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(emphasis mine)

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