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Summary: Jesus sees all our sins, but because he had made the ultimate sacrifice with his blood, we can have forgiveness. Christ is the sin eater who has taken care of all our sins, and that is another reason why Good Friday is good for us.

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What is so good about Good Friday? That is the question many of us probably ask when Good Friday comes around every year. After all, what is good about a day that commemorates Jesus' horrible torture and execution on a Roman cross?

Good Friday is a dark day in some respects because it commemorates the day that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but it is also a bright day in other ways because Jesus' death and resurrection on Easter Sunday paved the way for our relationship with God to be restored. This is the good news that Jesus has asked us to spread, but in order to understand the good news, we have to understand the bad news that is called our sinful, human nature. Once we see that we are slaves to sin, the good news of deliverance makes sense.

The book of Hebrews tells us to live by faith in God alone. The father of our faith is Abraham. His faith in God made him "right" before God. As a result of this righteousness, God protected his family as they grew into a nation, the Israelites. Moses was their first official leader to establish their worship, culture and laws. God spoke to Moses as he wrote down God's ways for the people, including the Ten Commandments.

These rules were given to teach the Israelites how to live. They were enforced to protect the Israelites from walking away from God and to protect them from destroying themselves and each other. These rules were not designed to replace faith, but by the time Jesus came these rules were more important than faith, mercy and kindness. The rules were more important than the people. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law. He came to fulfill it so that we, like Abraham, could be righteous through faith in God.

The good news of salvation is the cornerstone of the joy of Easter. In order to appreciate the joy of Easter, we have to appreciate what Jesus endured on Good Friday. Sin had to be punished because God is a just god who demands justice and hates sin. Because he hates sin, and because he wants to restore a loving relationship with us, someone had to pay the price for our sins.

In Old Testament times, sins were paid for by sacrificing animals. These animals had to be prefect in the eyes of the priests, which led to the marketplace in the temple where animals who were deemed to be perfect for sacrifices were available for sale. That was the same marketplace where Jesus upset the tables and drove out the moneychangers. When he laid his hands on the animal, the priest symbolically transferred sins to the animal, and the animal's death symbolically cleansed the people from their sins.

Unfortunately, there was a problem. These sacrifices had to be repeated every time someone sinned, and because the priests were human, they also had a sinful nature. God wanted one ultimate sacrifice in order to complete his plan for our restoration to him. The only perfect sacrifice that would fulfill his plan was Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice because of his sinless nature.

We can't underestimate the importance of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Before his death, we were separated from God. No one could approach God in the Holy of Holies portion of the Temple except for the high priest, and even then he could only enter it once a year on the Day of Atonement. Jesus' death destroyed the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple, and provided a way for us to be reconciled to him. Jesus removed the barriers for anyone who wanted to know and worship God. We can serve the Lord and abide in his presence.

When we accept what Christ did for us on Good Friday, we can get out of the black hole of our sinful, earthly life. That can be a struggle that we can't fight on our own. The Holy Spirit will help us, but other Christians are also ready to fight alongside us. The writer of Hebrews even states in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we must "not neglect our meeting together, as some do, but encourage one another, especially now that Christ's return is drawing near". Around Jesus were a close knit group, but those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour were quickly shunned by non-believers. The writer of Hebrews encouraged the early believers by reminding them that God will never abandon them. We as believers today can also be confident in our hope because God will never abandon us. (Pause)

It is important for believers to gather together on a regular basis to worship God. We were not designed to "go it alone". Belonging to a church not only protects our fellowship with God, but it is a vital part of how God matures us and transforms us to his image. Part of that transformation includes believing in Jesus in faith, especially in what he did for us on Good Friday.

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