Last Friday marked one of the most tragic and triumphant moments in human history. On a hill shaped like a skull, the Son of God hung on a cross between two thieves. Satan surely thought he was witnessing God’s greatest defeat, but he was witnessing his own ultimate destruction and the possibility for those dead in trespasses in sin to come alive now and forever.
Jesus died that we may live. He paid the price and shouldered the entire load of all our sins. We may refer to “Good Friday,” but this day was truly “better than good,” as Zig Ziglar so often said. Jesus, the mediator between God and man, made it possible for us to experience abundant life now and eternal life forever.
As Jesus looked out from the cross at the very ones who had spit in His face, forced a crown of thorns on His head, twisted His beard and ripped it out, scourged Him with 39 lashes and drove the spikes into His hands, He prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
How could such merciful words come from one who was experiencing the most painful form of death? Because He knew the truth: They did not know what they were doing. The god of this world had blinded the eyes of the unbelievers and they were held captive by Satan’s power. Jesus prayed forgiveness on their behalf.
I was also there, as one to whom He offered forgiveness. All of us were there, and our sins contributed to every aspect of His death. He accepted the wages of sin, which He never earned, that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins, which we never deserved. It is grace! It is mercy! It is God and His love revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Max Lucado shared this truth concerning Jesus: “Christ lived the life we could not live and took the punishment we could not take to offer the hope we cannot resist.” May God help us to pray with the same compassion and mercy toward those who are in bondage to the prevailing power of darkness in our world.
As I look at over 50 years in my journey, I realize I have been giving water to Jesus all over the world. As a matter of fact, I have had the joy of offering life-giving spiritual water to the millions of people who responded and drank deeply of the water of life by trusting Christ. Betty and I have also traveled to some of the harshest regions in the world and drilled water wells with the assistance of caring friends, quenching the physical thirst of millions of people. We have experienced the reality of what Jesus said in one of His last messages on this earth: “I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.” His disciples asked, “When did we do this?” He responded, “When you did it to the least of these, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
I am so thankful for that merciful moment when Jesus died 2,000 years ago. It was because of this gift that we can experience the greatest gift: life itself. Today, people around the world celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ on that first Easter morning. As the song says, “Up from the grave He arose.” And because of His resurrection, we can experience the abundant life He freely offers.
Through faith in Jesus, we can experience the power of the resurrected Lord living in us. He offers forgiveness and the opportunity to live in fullness and fruitfulness for the rest of our lives.
Jesus is the way. He is alive to live in us. Forgiveness and life are available because He conquered death so that we might live. May we, with yielded hearts and open minds, pray, “Thy will be done.”