March 30, 2018 • Life for Leaders
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Today is Good Friday. On this day Christians throughout the world remember in a special way the death of Jesus on the cross.
From one point of view, this could be called Terrible Friday. After all, what could be more horrible than the torture and death of the Son of God?
Yet Christians call today Good Friday because we recognize that more was going on than the tragic death of an innocent man. We understand that God was doing something amazing, something mysterious, something wonderful through the death of Jesus. We read of this something in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
As you might expect, theologians have argued for centuries about the nuances of this verse. But the basic reality is fairly simple. Christ, the sinless one, was fully righteous, which is to say that he was in a completely right relationship with God. We, on the other hand, were not righteous. We were separated from God because of our sin. God the Father treated Christ the Son as if he were sin itself, forsaking him on the cross, and allowing him to be crucified in our place. God made Christ, the only righteous one, to be sin, so that we might receive Christ’s own righteousness as a gift of grace.
Thus, what might be called Terrible Friday is actually Good Friday. It’s good because on a certain Friday about two thousand years ago, God took our sin upon himself, died the death that was ours, so that we might be forgiven, and so that we might live the life God wants for us.
None of this would make any sense, of course, if Friday were the end of the story. The death of Jesus would have made absolutely no difference, and he would soon have been forgotten, just like the thousands of others who were crucified on Roman crosses. But Good Friday is not the end of the story. Its ultimate and true goodness will come to light on Easter morning, when Jesus is raised from the dead.
Today, we pause to reflect on the meaning of the cross. We open our hearts to receive once again God’s amazing grace and love for us. We acknowledge that this day is good, not because of the horrible thing that happened to Jesus Christ, but because of what God was doing through the cross for us. All praise be to him!
Something to Think About:
What are your thoughts about Good Friday? Your feelings?
Why do you think God chose something so horrible as crucifixion to demonstrate his love for us?
In what ways do you need to receive afresh the grace and love of God for you?
Something to Do:
Set aside at least ten minutes today. Find a place of quiet where you will not be interrupted. Sit quietly before the Lord and reflect on Christ’s death for you. Let your heart be open to whatever God wants to say to you through the Spirit.
Gracious God, only your amazing grace makes this Good Friday. Only your amazing love turns the horror of the cross into the beauty of salvation. Only you, Lord, can take what is evil and transform it into good. All praise be to you!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying in my place. Thank you for taking upon yourself the penalty I deserved but could never fully bear. Thank you for all that your cross makes possible.
Help me, I pray, to know more deeply and truly what your death means. May I receive your grace in a new way today. And may I share it with others. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
The Cross and Resurrection (Mark 14:32-16:8)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.