In one way, the events of Good Friday were not that unusual. The Roman government regularly crucified those convicted of heinous crimes. Passersby might stop and gape for a while, but then go on their way. After Jesus’ hasty burial in Joseph’s tomb, the Sabbath day rest began as usual. Life went on. Jesus’ death was not the first nor the last. It’s the ultimate statistic that one out of one dies. After our Good Friday observance last night, life goes on today as usual.
However, in another all-important way, Jesus’ death is like none other. It changes everything. Every previous death had been that of a sinful human being. But Jesus is the holy incarnate Son of God. He was tempted in every way as we are, but had no sin. Death is the wages of sin. Jesus suffered that death for all sinners of all time. And while death is inevitable for everyone else, Jesus chose to willingly give up His life as a sacrifice. “I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (Jn. 10:18).
Every death before Good Friday underscored humankind’s helplessness and hopelessness. Jesus’ death defeated death and won life for us. “It is finished!” Jesus triumphantly shouted. Sin’s debt has been paid. The wall separating us from God has been broken down, and we are at peace with Him. We are absolutely sure of it, because of what happened on Easter. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
On that Saturday long ago, Jesus’ followers rested on the Sabbath and waited. The Lord’s body rested and waited in the tomb. May we today spend some quiet time with the Lord’s Word as we rest and wait for tomorrow’s glorious announcement.
In Jesus’ name,
Our Easter service begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by brunch.