Thoughts on This, Good Friday

Under the Old Testament law more than 1,200,000 lambs were sacrificed every day. 6,000,000 animals were sacrificed on the first day of the month (see Numbers 26:2, 51; Numbers 28:1-3, 11).  The priests must have been covered in blood. Did their hands ever come clean? Yet the carnage wasn't sufficient; it wasn't meant to be. The animal sacrifice merely pointed to the ultimate sacrifice that would come.

John the Baptist recognized it.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
The Jewish leaders, Jesus' followers and His disciples did not. They didn't understand that redemption would require a far greater sacrifice.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:15-22)
We couldn't inherit the promise without the blood of the Spotless Lamb. His death was horrific, unimaginable. Yet, as Luther so eloquently writes, Jesus had an "inexpressible and unendurable yearning" that caused Him to suffer death for us. (source)  Jesus "came intentionally to be the true Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb. He came to be the Scape-goat on whom the iniquities of the people were to be laid." (J.C. Ryle, source).

Oh! how we need that Scape-goat! We remain dead in our sins apart from new life in Christ. Nothing dead can bring itself back to life. There is no way for us to resuscitate ourselves. Has a corpse ever done such a thing?  We died the spiritual death as we drew our first breath; it was no less real, no more temporary than physical death. All hope was lost. 
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6)
 Although Satan thought he had gained sure victory at Calvary, "[h]e did not realize, and this is the devil's greatest blunder, that by bringing the Son of God to the cross he was defeating himself and bringing about his own ultimate doom." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, source)  As the Apostle Paul writes, by His death Jesus put Satan to shame and triumphed over him.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15)
As I contemplate the cross this Good Friday, I am filled with wonder, humility and gratitude unspeakable. By His grace, Easter means more to me than chocolate bunnies, colorful eggs, and new church clothes; it is a memorial of the most scandalous crime ever committed and the most amazing victory ever accomplished.

Wishing you a glorious Easter weekend.

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