Summary: “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”. (Isaiah 53:11)
Beloved in the Lord. The theme for today’s Good Friday sermon is “dying with Christ”. In observing the protocols to curb the spread of the corona virus, this message is being delivered to your homes with the help of technology. It is my prayer that with the help of the Holy Spirit we will be able to see, although confined to our homes, what took place on Calvary and understand the reason for our celebration of Good Friday. Calvary is where God prepared an altar for the sacrifice of His Son. Christ carried the wood for the sacrifice, the cross, to Calvary, was nailed to it, lifted up upon the altar as the sacrificial Lamb to endure the flames of God’s judgement.
Beloved in Christ, the entire message of the Gospel revolves around this unique historical event: the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary. This event is significant for two main reasons. Firstly, because of the person who was crucified on it and secondly, the reason for His crucifixion. The crucified person was Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) The reason for His crucifixion was to pay the penalty for sin and purchase the salvation of the world by meeting the just requirements of His Father. Jesus Christ met those requirements and by His sacrifice “perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14) A single sovereign act of God brought together all the guilt and the suffering of humanity and offered one all sufficient solution, the cross.
Step One: God’s remedy for sin
Beloved in the Lord, the cross was God’s remedy for sin. It was His response to the suffering, misery and death caused by sin. It was the only remedy, “For the wages of sin is death”. (Romans 6:23) God made the greatest sacrifice in the history of the universe when He gave His only Son to pay the penalty for sin for the salvation of the world. Jesus Christ was the only One who qualified to meet God’s requirements. All previous sacrifices failed to meet God’s requirement as the judgement of God on sin was greater than the sacrifices. It was only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who was born without a sin nature and who never sinned, that was greater than the judgement of God. He endured the fires of God’s judgement on sin and its effects; the curse, sickness and disease, poverty, condemnation, shame and rejection. His most agonising moment was when He was separated from the Father and when even the sun withheld its light. It was only when the fires of God’s judgement were exhausted that He could finally cry out “it is finished”. His sacrificial death has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, and from slavery to sin and Satan. He has healed our wounds, made us righteous, clothed us with His glory and reconciled us to the Father so that we can call Him Abba, Father.
Step Two: The exchange at the cross
Beloved in the Lord! Jesus Christ took our place on the cross and bore the full judgement of God on sin in our place. Evidently, the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was meant for the crucifixion of another person, a man named Barabbas, who had been found guilty of rebellion against the Roman government and sentenced to death. When Jesus Christ took his place, it meant that Barabbas was declared not guilty and set free. Barabbas represents each one of us. We are all guilty of rebellion against God and deserve to die. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took our place on the cross, that we might be freed from the sentence of death and set free. Christ paid the price for our redemption.
Step Three: Dying with the Lord
Beloved in the Lord! Christ did not only die in our place as our substitute, He also died as our representative, so that when He died, we also died with Him. When Christ was buried, we also were buried with Him. Our old man, our ungodly sinful nature, died and was buried with Him so that the new man, our godly righteous nature, could come alive so that we are no longer ruled by the flesh or the world, but by the spirit.
Beloved in the Lord. Jesus Christ bore the sin of the whole world, past, present and future and paid the price for sin once and for all time. On the cross Christ Jesus crushed the head of Satan, destroyed his power and delivered man from under his rule and dominion. Let us by faith take hold of the provisions of God’s grace in Christ Jesus to the praise and glory of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!