Tomorrow is a very special day. No, it’s not the birthday of any President or any other Politician. Its not a summer holiday like Memorial day or the 4th of July, it isn’t a Harvest celebration and it’s not the first day of school, but it is a day that we celebrate freedom, our most important freedom. We remember different wars and battles that have insured our freedom as a nation, but this man insured a freedom that no battle or war could, the freedom from sin with the promise of eternal life.
Over 2000 years ago an innocent man was convicted of crimes he did not commit and sentenced to die. You may wonder why we would celebrate the death of this individual for the three days, from the day of his death until tomorrow, the day that he was to be the only one to defeat death and rise from the grave. We celebrate this man because of who was and who he still is.
This man felt pain, suffered grief, anger and humiliation at the hands of his accusers before he was nailed to the cross. He felt love and he felt kinship and he felt sorrow. He was spit on, cursed, and ridiculed, and lied about. He was whipped with a cat of nine tails, a whip that had sharp objects attached to leather strands, that when used on a person, literally ripped the skin from their bodies. It is said that as he carried that cross, you could see his lungs drawing in a letting out air through the bloody mess of his back.
As he hung upon that cross, he didn’t cuss and swear and yell at his executioners. He didn’t cry and beg to be taken down. He didn’t demand any last requests or a last meal. No, instead he hung there in pain and asked that his executioners be forgiven because they still didn’t understand what they were doing.
Luke 23:24 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
As he mouthed the words “It is finished”, the curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom, and the earth gave a world wide shutter that was felt in every place. The clouds blocked out the sun and many people shrunk in terror over the sudden change in the air, most still not realizing what the cause was. At the moment, even one of the soldiers who was involved his execution looked up and remarked “surely this was a righteous man”.
Luke 23: 44-48 And it was about the sixth hour and ther was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice “father, into they hands I commend my spirit and having said thise he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying “certainly this was a righteous man” And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts and returned.
Jesus died for our sins, but he rose on the third day, defeating death and now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for our sins. He doesn’t look down on us with anger. He doesn’t look down on human-kind with thoughts of vengeance over being wrongly executed. No, he looks down on us with love, and he stands by our side to strengthen us, to help us when times are rough and he lives within us, guiding us as we go through this life. All he asks in return is that we believe in him, love him and share him. That we, humans with an inherent sin nature, do the best that we can to live as he has said we should.
We celebrate the fact that our sins can be forgiven through belief and love for this man, and we stand on his promise that some day he is coming back to take us to eternal life, eternal utopia, a place of love with no hate, no sorrow, no illness and no grief and no sin and no looking back.
If you celebrate this day with the other millions that do so, celebrate it for what it is, not for Easter Egg Hunts, not for a family dinner, not for a BBQ, not for a day off work, but for the fact that he died for us and will return for us some day.
If you don’t know him, there is no better time than now to talk to him, to ask forgiveness of your sins, to allow him to come into your heart an take over your life. I had a person tell one time that he would go to church and seek Christ late in life, that this was what you did when you got old. Tomorrow is never promised and tomorrow may be too late.