In the days leading up to Easter, I usually break from my regular pattern of Bible reading, in order to spend time focussing on the last week of Jesus’ life. As I do so I am always struck by the amount of attention that all four Gospel writers devote to this particular part of ‘the story’. It is evident that they do so intentionally, because Jesus death is not incidental to the story, nor accidental, due to a miscalculation on His part. Rather, Jesus’ death and indeed His resurrection is revealed as the ultimate fulfilment of His mission.
Last Sunday, I shared a number of the consequences that come to us through our receiving this ‘good news’ by faith. One of those consequences was that we receive the forgiveness of sins. However, according to one of Jesus closest friends Peter, ‘Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’ (1 Pet 3:18). I encourage you, please don’t just read that verse once, read it again. Jesus died in order to bring you to God! The only way that it could be possible for you or I to stand before a holy and righteous God, was if God himself provided the means that our guilt could somehow be ‘atoned for’ in order that the ‘wrong could be put right’. Your forgiveness then was never the end of God’s purpose, rather it was simply a part of the means through which Jesus ensured that His Father could become our Father.
Now isn’t that worth celebrating?