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What makes Good Friday so good?

Three words; “It is finished.”

After thousands of years have passed since God first said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” and after the snake first tempted the woman and man fell into his snare of death, God had a plan of redemption. When Adam, the first man, was hiding from God from his shame in the garden, Jesus, God in man, was preparing for his first steps on the hill of Calvary.

Planned before the foundations of the world, God knew man would cave in and give into sin. Sin which brings death and suffering. But why?

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WHY?

Why would a God who is love allow this to happen? Why would He allow man to make such a deadly mistake? Why would he give His only Son to suffer for all of mankind to pay the price of man’s failure for sin? Why? The answer is simple and yet mind boggling. The answer is, God is love. God loved man, so He created him. Man was made to love God, but love without the freedom to choose is not truly love.

So man had the option to love God by obeying him, or choosing to rebel in the form of eating an apple from a tree that was forbidden.

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Man failed.

Adam failed in his choice and since then every person to ever walk this earth, with the seeds of sin in their DNA since the beginning have failed too. The good news is that where man has failed, God’s love is greater. God gave man the free will to choose and God new that man would fail, so He, being the just and also loving God that He is, prepared a sacrifice in the form of man to pay for humanities failure.

It wasn’t just any man who could save humanity from their sins. It took God coming down in the form of man to pay for the sins of the world. There was a price to be paid, and it took the sinless Son of God to give his life as a ransom for our redemption.

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The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Why though would God after man’s big failure and rebellion love us. Because God is Love. But God is also a just God and He cannot accept sin. So the God of love sought to redeem us, but His justice demanded payment for our salvation. How did he accomplish this demand? How could He fulfill His love and satisfy His justice at the same time? We find the truth in the verses of John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

That is it! That is what is so good about Good Friday! Mission accomplished! The victory achieved! Man is freed! Where Adam failed to sin in the garden and hid himself. Jesus defeated sin and death as He hung on the tree for all to see. In the words, “It is finished” Jesus was saying man’s payment for sin is complete. At the cross of Christ came the end of sin and death’s terror reign over man, but that is not the end of the story. So many just stop there.

But something incredible happened just three days later. Jesus was risen from the dead in proclamation of His victory over death and the gift of eternal life. And because He is risen so will we who believe on Him also be risen to new life in Christ.

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“HE IS NOT HERE. FOR HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID.”

Risen to eternal life. Life after this life on earth where there is no death. No sorrow. And no pain.

Death is certain for every man in this life, but defeat to sin and eternal death is optional. Like Adam and like Jesus we to have the power to choose our response to sin. Sin which brings death. We cannot do it on our own, but the great news is that what we cannot do for ourselves, Jesus did for us when He died on His cross. Today you can choose to say, “It is finished” to your old life of sin and receive eternal life in Christ. That is what makes Good Friday so good. Your and my debt for our sins, was paid in full and our salvation was secured in those three words that Jesus spoke as he died on the cross, “It is finished.” Jesus did his part. In His great love He chose to die for you and me and pay our debt that we couldn’t pay. Now it is up to us to simple say, “Yes, Lord I accept.” Accept His payment for your sins. And then, like Jesus, you can say, “It is finished” and your old life will become new in Christ.

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“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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There is a great quote that says, “How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.” I’ve been blessed to witness this first hand in my life.  You see we may teach with our words, but we reinforce those lessons with our actions.  I remember countless times watching my dad as we would pass someone on the street who asked for money, or requested something to eat and my dad never turned them away.  Sometimes he would give them the last dollar he had in his pocket. Other times he would go to the nearby restaurant and buy them a meal and bring it back to them. My dad never missed an opportunity when he could help someone in need.  I know it’s true that there are many who will take advantage of people who give, like my dad, but he gave anyway.

My dad could have told me to give.  He could have said it’s good to be a giver and think of others.  But I saw him do it.  He lived his message and whenever one of his family would caution him that he might be taken advantage of and he needs to be more cautious, his response was always the same.  He would say, “The Bible says that we entertain angels unawares.”  My dad never looked at the person asking for a meal on the street, or a dollar to go buy a hot sandwich as a beggar or someone who was beneath him and an inconvenience.  He looked at them like they were an angel.  He saw what we so commonly pass by, and at times have to go to the trouble to avoid as his opportunity to serve.  I have learned a lot from my dad over the years and I hope that his character and influence will be a legacy I can also pass on.  My dad always made it clear that as the Bible teaches us, when we do it to the least of these my brethren, Jesus said, “You do it unto me.”  My dad didn’t see the broken of our society as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to serve Jesus.

How my dad has walked down the streets of our town and never missed an opportunity to walk with the broken and give to them at the point of their need has spoken louder in my life than if he was rubbing shoulders with the great.  People like to get their pictures with famous people. To be seen on the same level with persons of status.  But the only status my dad has ever sought is to serve the one who he seeks to honor, Jesus Christ, not only with his words, but also through his actions. Many may not know that my dad is also a pastor and he has preached a lot of sermons in his life.  But the greatest sermon he has ever preached has been the sermon I have seen lived before my eyes all my life.  A sermon that has never wavered in his integrity and his actions.  Larry Dobbs, who was the president of Dobbs publishing group, once said in reference to his father, “The only inheritance that a man will leave that has eternal value is his influence.”  Today as my dad’s birthday is approaching this month I have been trying to think of what I could give him, but the realization has struck me that he has given me something far greater than any physical gift.  He has passed on his influence in my life and I would add to that his faith and that is what truly has eternal value. My dad and mom have taught me not only through their words but also their actions what true greatness looks like.  To see it you must look down.  Look down to where the need is the greatest and serve. As the Bible says, “The greatest among you will be a servant to all.”  Thanks dad for teaching me how to walk with the broken and what it means to truly be great.

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“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson