I am not going to assume that everyone reading this knows the true meaning and purpose of Good Friday and the entire Easter holiday. For some, it is “free” four days, meaning- break from work, plenty of time to hang out with fam while eating nyam chom, going for shopping sprees (I mean, you’ve seen Easter deals), going for road trips among other fun activities.
Then there is the other category of people- those who know the “what”. Those who belong in this category know what happened on Good Friday- Jesus died, and on Easter Sunday He resurrected- but have no clue why those events took place.
With that in mind, I intend to bring out the meaning and purpose of this holiday -so significant in the Christian calendar- in very simple words.
Good Friday, (the Friday before Easter) is the day that Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus. Easter Sunday is the celebration of Jesus’s victory over death by rising from the dead.
Why is it significant?
A good theological question is answered well if we are taken right to the beginning. I will therefore take you back to the beginning- very many years ago (approximately 6000yrs BC) when God created heavens and the earth, and filled it with everything we see currently.
At the center of creation, God created human beings- who were different from all other creations, because they were created in the image and likeness of God. God gave them the responsibility of ruling over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, and all the livestock and wild animals (Genesis 1:26).
God then placed them in the garden of Eden- to work on it and to take care of it. They had all the freedom with only one limitation- not to eat from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. And that on the day they will eat it, they will surely die (Genesis 2:17).
Things were so good at that point. Animals and humans coexisted in harmony, even Adam and Eve were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Things however went haywire, when Eve started having a conversation with one of the animals her husband had named serpent. This is how the conversation went:
“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:1–7)”
Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and did the one thing they were warned not to do. And just like that, sin entered the world, whose consequence is death.
How is that our concern as Christians?
The mere fact that we are Adam’s descendants means that we are born sinners. Every inclination of the thoughts of our hearts is towards evil (Genesis 6:5). And since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), we therefore deserve to die.
But the story doesn’t end there. God in His mercies and love sent Jesus to come into this world we live in, to live the perfect lives we were supposed to live but could not, and to take all the sins we have ever committed and we’ll ever commit, and to be nailed on the cross on our behalf- so that we may be able to have eternal life.
And as Billy Graham puts it, “it was not the people or Roman soldiers who put Jesus on the cross- it was your sins and my sins that made it necessary for Him to volunteer His death.”
Let our eyes today be fixed on the cross.
1st Peter 2:24-25, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
(There will be another article on Easter Sunday)