At the time, Good Friday was not considered good. The mood of Christ’s followers was one of loss. Even his close disciples who had been told what was to happen must have held out some hope that Jesus would somehow use his power to avoid death. They must have been deeply shocked when he sighed, “It is finished,” and breathed his last. Their mourning would have been overwhelming.
Then, incredibly, on the following Sunday, they saw with their own eyes that Jesus had not avoided death, but had conquered it, not only for himself, but for all believers, for all time. What a victory.
As a child I often saw a road sign proclaiming gloomily in large print, “The wages of sin is death.” It wasn’t until I was older that I noticed the smaller words on the sign, “but the gift of God is eternal life.”
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
The large, bold words of warning on that sign seeped into my consciousness and colored my feelings about death, even the deaths of believers, for many years. I could only see the sorrow.
While mourning the loss of loved ones this year, the promise in the rest of the verse came into sharper focus. I realized that while grieving for those whom I would miss, I could celebrate that they were now in the presence of the Lord they loved. My pain was greatly eased by focusing on their present joy and the certain knowledge that I will be with them again one day.
There is a reason that dying, for a believer, is sometimes referred to as going to their reward.
When we ponder Christ’s pain and suffering on the cross today, let us look ahead to the great victory of Resurrection Morning, knowing that for those who believe, because of His sacrifice, there is a resurrection morning for us to celebrate, as well.