For many, Easter brings with it a short break from work or study and perhaps (if the weather is good) a first taste of early summer.
Historically it was a time that was set aside as commemorating the Death (Good Friday) and the Rising from the Dead (Easter Sunday) of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son.
Let's reflect a little on these momentous events.
His Death - at the Cross
We quote from the Gospel of Luke
"There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”
The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew ...
Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened,[ and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last." (see Luke 23).
Sin - at the Cross
Sin has been in the world since the beginning of mankind. It came with the first man who God created - Adam. The Bible says "through one man sin entered into the world" (Romans 5v12).
Down through the generations of time "sin reigned". It affected every heart and every life! Even God-fearing men had to admit this. King Solomon said "There is no one who does not sin" (1 Kings 8v46). This is still true of every one today. We all do things that are wrong and are against God, we break his standards and forget His commands.
Yet in spite of this God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into the world! "He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin" (1 John 3v5). He was different from us, for He did not and could not sin as He is pure. He moved through His life bringing hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind and life to the dead. However, despite His goodness and purity, people hated Him, eventually scheming and lying to have Him crucified.
The cross shows the sin of humanity at its worst! They hated the Son of God!They crucified the Lord of Heaven! They killed the Prince of Life! They gave Him a cross!
All sin is against God. We can be like the judge who falsely sentenced the Saviour to death, Pilate, he washed his hands of the issue but he was still responsible for his actions.
You are still responsible for the sins in your life and they need to be forgiven if you want to be in heaven.
Sacrifice - at the Cross
The cross was a sacrifice. God is holy and sin must be punished. Yet God gave His Son to bear the punishment for sin on the Cross that we might go free. On the Cross, God's awful judgement for sin fell on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This sacrifice was costly. It cost God His only begotten Son. It cost the Son of God His life. It cost Heaven it's Lord.
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3v16)
This sacrifice was complete. The Lord cried, "It is finished" (John 19v30) and bowed His head and died.
"And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool." (Hebrews 10 v 11-13).
One sacrifice is enough. He has completely satisfied God and anyone's sins can be taken away, because of this work.
When the Saviour said "It's finished",
Everything was fully done,
Done as God Himself would have it,
Christ the victory fully won!
This is proved by the Resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has raised Him from the dead and given Him glory. He is now exalted at God's Right Hand.
Salvation - at the Cross
There was at one man there that day, who will always be thankful for the Cross.
He was a criminal; he had been convicted for his crimes of robbery and was now facing execution. He was one of the two criminals crucified on crosses on either side of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He and his friend had insulted the Lord with the rest of the crowds, until he began to think.
When he began to think, he realised he was in the wrong for his actions. He said to his partner in crime "we receive the due reward of our deeds..". He then recognised that the Person on the centre cross was different and said "but this Man has done nothing wrong".
Finally, appreciating that the only One who could help him was the Lord beside him he cried "Lord, remember me" and he received the assurance from the Lord, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (see Luke 23v39-43).
He is in heaven today. He didn't deserve it, but there came a time when he recognised he was wrong and trusted alone on the Saviour. This robber couldn't work for salvation, his hands were nailed to a cross, he did what God asks us to do - he relied only on the Lord Jesus Christ to take him to heaven.
If you are honest like him and acknowledge, I am a sinner I don't deserve to be in heaven, and trust God's risen Son to save you, you too will be in heaven forever. There is still salvation to be found at the Cross.
Separation - at the Cross
There were two criminals on crosses. We have no record that the other repented of his sin and turned to the Lord Jesus Christ. This leaves us with a stark warning. Not everyone is saved. Just as the Cross of Christ separated these two robbers, one saved and one lost, so it separates true Christians from everyone else.
The Bible speaks of only two places after life. Either Heaven, with Christ which is far better for Christians or Hell, "the blackness of darkness forever" for those who do not accept Christ. The choice is yours. The Bible puts it like this.
"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe on the Son shall not see life but the wrath (anger) of God abides on him" (John 3 v 36)
Bible quotations on this page are from the NKJV, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Inc.