This is Holy Week, the time each year when Christians around the world remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. More than anything else, our faith is built on an event, the event. If Jesus is not alive our whole faith is a hoax. But since He is alive, we too can live – both now, and for eternity. We have good reason to rejoice on Good Friday!

The historical facts are quite well established from outside documents; a man named Jesus lived in the 1st Century, had a popular following for a while among the people, and was crucified by the Romans. You don’t have to be a Christian to believe that.

But what does Jesus’ death mean? What did Jesus die for?

If you were to ask the average Christian, the likely answer you’d get would be “He died to save us.” Yes, He did! But what does that mean? There are at least two parts to the answer.

Sacrifice for our Sins

This year Holy Week also corresponds to Passover week, as observant Jews remember the time when, through applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their homes, the destroying angel passed over their homes and God delivered them from Egypt. Throughout the Old Testament the sacrifices in the temple continually pointed forward to when Jesus, the Lamb of God, would be sacrificed.

And in the New Testament, the early Christians understood this. “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7) “Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3)

We have all sinned. Our sins have separated us from God. There is nothing we can do on our own that will pay for our sins. ”For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The great exchange! How glorious! Our sins are forgiven, and we are made right with God.

And yet forgiveness, as glorious as it is, is not enough.

Removing Sin from Us

Forgiveness deals with our past. But we are still messed up. Through being born into a sinful world and through our own rebellion and selfishness our nature has become entwined with sin. We have behaved sinfully, yes. But even more than that, the DNA of our souls has become corrupted. Sin is now part of our nature.

God wanted a family, so He created human beings out of love. And God has not given up on His original plan, to have a family of human beings living and reigning with Him forever.

But we have become corrupted. Even if our sinful acts are forgiven, we are still sinful. Sin cannot be around God. So in order to be with Him forever our very nature has to change. And we can’t change ourselves. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)

To put it in human terms, God had to find a way to separate sin from us.

And that’s the deeper and even more profound meaning of what Jesus died for.

When John the Baptist cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) he was talking about much more than forgiveness. The death of Jesus made it possible for sin to be removed from us!

Not only are our past sinful acts forgiven; our sinful nature can be transformed. New DNA. A heart transplant. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10)

I don’t know about you, but that to me is very good news! I can become different! God’s plan, that we “be conformed to the image of his Son” can be fulfilled. (Romans 8:29) You and I can become like Jesus! It’s a process. But how glorious!

For the Future

Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins took care of our past.

The heart transplant He offers takes care of our present.

And therefore we have a future!

Not sitting on a cloud in heaven. No, not at all. But living right here on earth. Or more correctly, in the New Earth God will make, where all things will be new. (Revelation 21:1)

Including you and me.

Rejoice in that reality this Good Friday. Drink deeply of the life Jesus offers us here and now. And confidently look forward to the future, when we can drink together with the One who gave His life for us. (Matthew 26:29)

Thanks be to God, for His unspeakable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

And see a bit more in this short video

Your Turn: What does Good Friday mean to you? Do you have reason to rejoice? What in your heart is messed up, that you are grateful can be changed because of Jesus? Leave a comment below. 

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  • There are many reasons to rejoice on Good Friday! Forgiveness of your sins is only one reason. But Jesus’ death also made it possible for your very nature to be changed! That’s VERY good news.  Tweet that

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