Today is Good Friday, the day millions of Christians celebrate the death of Jesus. But I suspect you knew that already. Do you know what it means, though? Beyond the death on the cross, beyond the payment for man’s sin that Jesus freely took, do you know what Jesus’ death means for your life? That’s something I believe not many ponder: how does what Good Friday commemorates impact the other 364 days of the year? I starting thinking about this question last night, and in order to answer it, one must first begin with why Jesus died, then look at what it accomplished, and then one can understand its implications for daily living.
Why did Jesus die? The answer begins and ends with God, especially his holiness. God is a holy God, and thus he is perfect, righteous, and just. He created everything that was created (time, space, matter) and declare it good. He created mankind in his image and desired to fellowship with man. However, man disobeyed God—man sinned—corrupting all of creation with sin. Because God is just, there are consequences for sin, which God stated up front: if you sin, you die. Because God is holy—and thus righteous and just—he must punish sin.
This brings us to God’s grace. Because sin is so corruptive, so contrary to God’s holiness, the punishment is eternal death. However, God desires that none face that, although everyone is guilty and deserves it. God wanted to restore the fellowship that man sacrificed through his sin. Doing this required two things: justice be met and the corruption removed. God’s justice had to be met, meaning that sin could not go unpunished. Also, that same sin must also be cleansed. God could have let mankind face his due punishment, but he chose to send Jesus instead. Jesus willingly came down, became man, and did what no man could ever do: Jesus satisfied God’s justice by paying for sin, thus cleansing people of that corruption. All who believe in Jesus are saved, meaning they are declared righteous (the stain of sin removed by Jesus’ blood); they are justified (their penalty has been paid by Jesus). This is God’s grace because nobody deserves this gift, yet God freely gives it.
So what did this accomplish? John Piper wrote a book a few years ago titled Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die in which he outlined a plethora of things Jesus’ death accomplished. I’d like to focus on just one: a restored relationship with God. Jesus’ death restores our relationship with God. God created a perfect relationship, man lost it, God restored it—all to and for his glory!
Herein lies the crucifixion’s impact on our daily lives. The relationship that God restores is not something that we can celebrate or participate in one day a year. It is a lifetime commitment. It is more eternal and wonderful than “I do.” But just as any relationship requires working at it every moment of every day, and just as how a single moment can impact an entire day, the same goes for our relationship with God. We must work at it every day, and everything we do impacts that relationship.
As I thought about this last night, I recalled how Olivia and I watched American Idol and Bones. Because we skipped the commercials, each show took about 45 minutes to watch, totaling 1 ½ hours. We also enjoy watching House and Smallville, and I like Glenn Beck. We all have our favorite television or radio programs. We all have websites we like to visit such as Facebook, Twitter, or others (I like Fox News and The Blaze). Others may prefer sitting down with a good book, reading the newspaper, or texting away on their smart phones. And then there are those who spend their time outdoors, playing sports, exercising, or doing other physical activities. Whatever it may be, we all have something we enjoy doing, and doing regularly.
Often, we may spend many hours each week, or even each day, doing something we want to do. Or maybe you’re someone who has little time for doing what you want to do because you’re busy doing what you have to do, be it for your career or caring for the family. But at some point, we all find some time to sit back and relax, even if it’s just for the fifteen minutes the kids are asleep before you doze off.
As I pondered how much time we spend doing things, I asked myself: how much time do we give to God? I don’t mean the twenty second mealtime prayer or going to church once a week (or once a year). I mean how much we spend with God every day. We may try to find five minutes to have for ourselves, or spend hours texting away on a cell phone, yet not even spend a single minute with God.
As a ‘military brat’ who moved every couple of years, I’ve had many friends come and go. As we spent less time together we drifted apart, often into two different worlds with little in common. The less time we spend with God, the more we tend to drift away from him, and sadly, we end up with less in common. Jesus did not sacrifice his life so we can play more on the XBox. Jesus did not shed his blood so we can focus more on Facebook. Jesus died so we can have a better relationship with God.
Restoration of our relationship with God cost Jesus his life. He was mocked, beaten, and tortured. He had nails driven through his flesh, ripping the skin, tearing through muscles. He was hung on a cross, bloody and condemned as a criminal for crimes he never committed. He was hated by the world, yet loved those who hated him. On Good Friday, Christians are reminded that Jesus died, in part, to restore our relationship with God. How do we respond to such love and grace? The answer to that question reveals how much Good Friday impacts your daily life.