Today I want to start off with some verses from God’s word, “Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide His garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over Him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this He breathed His last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.” Luke 23:32-49 and “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. The day that Jesus took all of God’s wrath for our sins on Himself so that we would not have to, and so we can be with Him in paradise. You see when Adam and Eve sinned back in the garden it tore a rift between God and mankind, one that we could not bridge ourselves because all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God being rich in mercy gave
us a way to cross the rift, so that we can be with Him now and forever. I believe that the agony of the cross was only part of the agony that Jesus felt that day over 2000 years ago. I believe that God poured out His wrath for all the sins ever committed on Jesus that day and that is one of the reasons His agony was so great. He was already in agony before He even got to the cross. He was beaten and had a crown of thorns beaten into His head. We can see that Jesus was already in poor condition before even making it to the hill because Joseph of Arimathea had to carry His cross for Him. The Romans would not have allowed anyone else to have carried Jesus’ cross if He would have been able to carry it Himself. While Jesus was on the cross He was unrecognizable as a man(Isaiah 52:14). To continue to breathe He would have had to push up with His legs and pull up with His arms just to take each breath, causing tremendous pain and every word He spoke would cause even more pain and agony. But He willingly took all that on Himself not because He had to but because that is how much He loves you.
But there is good news because on Sunday victory came over sin and death when He rose from the grave. Because God has given victory to all who believe in Him. When we are dying we can have hope because like the criminal who died with Him we can accept the free gift of salvation. To accept the gift of salvation all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life. There will never be a better time to accept Him than today, the day Jesus died on the cross for our sins. If death was where the story ended then we would not be talking about it today, but that was not where the story ended. You see we know Sunday is coming, but so many in Jesus’ day did not remember that He said, He would rise again on the third day. When He died all His followers were so overwhelmed that they fled to locked rooms to hide from the religious leaders. But on that third day He arose out of a sealed tomb guarded by Romans because not even death can stop our God. Which should give us joy because the grave will not hold believers either.
So today I want you to remember that Jesus loved us enough to go to the cross, die in what is described as the most horrific way to die and on top of that God poured out all His wrath for our sins on Him. It was the most agonizing death of all time, but He willingly went to the cross and died for you, the one who knew no sin took all God’s wrath for our sins. So we could have a chance to be with God forever, will you take the free gift of salvation? We are not promised tomorrow and just like the criminals who died beside Him we can choose Jesus or we can choose to deny Jesus it is up to you, no one can make this decision for you. You have to, and I hope you will choose to accept Jesus.