Today is Good Friday. I used to wonder why we called it Good Friday, since we're celebrating Jesus' painful death. What is good about death? Typically, nothing, at least on this earth, but Jesus' death isn't just any death. The truly good part comes on Easter morning, when Jesus rose from the dead in victory over sin!
We are fans of LOST, and what makes watching the show even more fun is that some of Hubby's family are also fans of the show, so after we finish watching, we discuss our theories and observations with them, and see what they think is going to happen next.
Last week's episode (3/23, Ab Aeterno), was a very sad episode. (Spoiler Alert Here: if you haven't seen this episode yet, you might want to stop reading!) We saw the story of Richard/Ricardo, and why he seems to never age. There were many touching moments, most having to do with him losing his wife, seemingly twice, and then of course the emotional moment at the end when Hurley sees Ricardo's wife and translates a message from her to him.
But do you know what the saddest moment of the whole show was for me?
When Ricardo is in prison because he has (accidentally) killed a man, a priest comes to him. Ricardo begs the priest for forgiveness, and the priest says 'no'. He says that Ricardo's sin is too great to be forgiven. He says that Ricardo must 'do penance' in order to obtain God's forgiveness, and that Ricardo doesn't have time to do this, since he'll be hanged the next day.
And my heart broke for Ricardo. Okay, I know it's just fiction, and this is just an actor with a script, but how many people in the real world are in similar, completely hopeless situations?
How many people reach out to a spiritual leader for forgiveness and guidance, and are told, "Your sin is too great. God won't forgive you." or "You have to do something good to make up for the sins you've committed".
I wished that I had been there to share the truth. The truth is that 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23), and, in fact, we all deserve to go to Hell. We can't do anything to get to Heaven on our own (Titus 3:5). Sounds pretty hopeless at this point, right?
But God offers us a free gift. Eternal LIFE. (Romans 6:23) And no sin is too great for God to forgive. In fact, in Luke 7:47, he tells his disciples that those who have been forgiven of greater sins have a greater motivation to love and serve Him. Certainly Paul, who describes himself as the 'chief of sinners' would attest to this grace (1 Tim. 1:15-16)
Many years ago, on Good Friday, Jesus Christ went through horrific pain and humiliating experiences by choice. He could have called ten thousand angels to rescue Him. He did not HAVE to die for us. But He did. He took up his cross, and he let the soldiers nail his hands and feet to it, and he endured the physical and very real emotional anguish. For you. And for me.
And the greatest part is that although Jesus died and all seemed hopeless again, He did not stay dead. On Easter morning, two women went to his grave, expecting to see his body there, and instead they found the tomb empty. Next, they saw Jesus walking and talking, living again in victory over death! The most amazing part of this whole story, is that all I have to do is believe that I need Jesus' help, and put my faith in Him and nothing else to save me from my sins, and I can also live a joyful eternity in Heaven when this life is over (Romans 10:9-10).
This gift is too great to keep to myself. I need to share it with others, not to force my choices and beliefs onto someone else, but as I would rescue a drowning person, or warn a driver about a dangerous road hazard ahead, I share my faith in order to help others avoid an eternity of hopeless pain.
If you have never read the story of Jesus' crucifixion and all that He went through to bring us to Himself, please take some time this week to check out Matthew chapters 26 through 28, which details exactly what Christ went through, and also how God raised Him from the dead, giving us victory over death just by trusting in His death and resurrection!
And when we know Him as our Savior, Easter is the happiest, most blessed holiday of all!