God’s love, Jesus Christ the sacrifice and our response
It’s Good Friday today.
In this nation, which was recently declared an official Christian state, most of us will pause to remember and reflect on the day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation.
What a privilege! An absolute honour, if you ask me.
Last night and this morning, thousands of people are converging to different church buildings across the nation to remember that sacrifice.
Without a doubt, the message of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion will be preached from pulpit to pulpit.
As Samoans, we pause to remember the time when the Son of God was dragged, beaten, tortured and then nailed to a cross, the most agonizing way the Roman authorities had devised for capital punishment.
The imagery is not very flattering, it’s not something pleasant to think about but such was the price he paid.
Which brings us to the question we always ask this time every year.
Why did Jesus Christ die in such a way?
Why did a King have to endure such a cruel death?
The simple answer is he died to give this dying world hope.
The story is well told. God created the world but through mankind’s lust and sin, all hope was lost. That was until God through his son Jesus Christ reached out to save so that mankind could be reconciled with God.
Without the death of Jesus Christ, there is no reconciliation.
And without that reconciliation, there is no hope.
Indeed, Jesus Christ died for sinners like me and you. He died for the world – everyone including people who don’t believe him. Believe it or not, whether you are a Christian or not, God loved you that he sacrificed his beloved son to give us all hope.
What’s often forgotten in days like this is that the death of Jesus Christ was not just a sin offering, it was through which that the gift of revival and everlasting life was offered.
And like most gifts, we have the freedom to choose to accept or reject. God will not bring down his wrath on anyone who chooses to reject his gift. His love endures forever just as the sun shines on all people.
But why reject a gift?
Today is an opportunity to think about that. You see the Bible is quite clear.
It says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one is perfect and we all have shortcomings. We are all sinners.
The good news is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the same Bible tells us that if we declare with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we are saved. It’s that simple. And that in a nutshell is the message of Easter.
Indeed, God is a God of second chances, third, fourth and a hundred chances. That’s why Jesus died.
He did not die for the well and good. If the world was so perfect and there was no sin, there would have been no need for him to die.
Which is why we should be grateful today.
On this Good Friday, Jesus Christ paid the sacrifice, suffered and died on that cross. In doing so, he saved and redeemed us and that through him, we can have the gift of everlasting life. Who doesn’t want such a gift? All we have to do is believe and accept it.
Here’s another thing; if Jesus Christ died for us to forgive our sins, who are we to continue to live in unforgiveness towards others – even those who have wronged us?
Let’s be reminded today that God loved us - and died for us - so we can extend the same love to people around us, including our enemies.
Have a peaceful Good Friday Samoa, God bless!