Good Friday is a time we remember the sacrificial death of Christ for the sins of the world. The angel of the Lord told Mary to name the child that God is going to give her through Holy Spirit as “Jesus” as he will save His people from their sins. John the Baptist identified the same and so He proclaimed, “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29). And Jesus finally affirmed His saving act by laying down His life on the cross. The cross becomes central to our faith in Christ. It is the place from where Jesus chose to give an answer to the world’s questions and solutions to the world’s problems. The death of Christ on the cross conveys many messages, but the fundamental message of all is God’s love towards Mankind!
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Apostle Paul refers to this love as “God’s own Love”. To put it in the right context, “God’s own love” was demonstrated through “God’s own Son”, Jesus Christ. The revelation of this God’s love was affirmed on the cross, and the salvation of mankind became a reality through “God’s own Love”. What kind of Love is this?
Firstly, this God’s own love is unconditional. Apostle Paul says He died for us when we were still sinners, that is when we were still undeserving of receiving God’s love. At the cross God conveyed this unconditional love, that is, knowing our weaknesses, shortcomings, unbeliefs. Yet he chose to die for us, for just one reason, if there is no unconditional love, there can never be salvation to mankind, since we will never be able to perfectly live according to God’s will. His choice to die on the cross to save us shows his unconditional love.
Secondly, this God’s own love is forgiving. At the cross, Jesus was scorned to death, with lashes, nails, and crown of thorns. Apart from the physical agony, He was insulted, mocked and abused. In an utterly forsaken condition both by God and people, with all the right He had to punish those who did that to him. Jesus chose to forgive those who did that to Him. From the cross, He said “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34) as he knew without forgiveness, mankind can never avail God’s plan.
Thirdly, this God’s own love is sacrificial. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son”. God gave all that He had to save mankind, His only son, that is He gave Himself. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). At the cross, He gave Himself and humbled Himself to death. He didn’t resist, He didn’t defend, and He didn’t run away, He didn’t protest or agitate, but surrendered totally. God knew that there is no hope for this world unless through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death. There is no name under heaven or earth that men might be saved!
Finally, this God’s own love is eternal. At the cross, He was tied among the other two criminals beside Him. One of them asked “Remember me in your kingdom” (Luke 23:42), the reply was instant; “Today you will be with me in paradise”. Jesus from the cross showed that His Love is eternal and it is beyond this world. That’s why God says “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). Jude talks about this love in Jude 1:21 “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life”.
God demonstrated His own love for us from the cross, so that we could be saved and live an abundant life that Jesus wants to offer to each one of us. As Children of God who has availed God’s forgiveness by putting our faith in Jesus Christ, this is the right time to recall God’s own love. May this God’s own love keep transforming us and give us a life filled with joy and hope!! Blessed Good Friday.