1 Peter 2:21-25 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Darkness descended and a chill enveloped the scene. God the Father had struck the fatal blow to His beloved Son. Jesus, in His humanity, had breathed His last. Disciples and friends wept, passersby turned away, soldiers gambled, and religious leaders mocked. “Good Friday” it has been called by many. And it is rightly so, for out of the greatest suffering came the greatest good. The seed died so that life could spring forth. The lamb was slain so that judgment would pass us by. The body broken and the blood spilt so that a covenant was eternally ratified.
Let us not forget that Christ’s sufferings were real sufferings for real sins. Last night I grumbled because I was tired and yet had duties to perform. Christ had abandoned sleep the night before so that He could spend time with His Father. Exhausted He stood before accusers yet He made no cries of injustice. Exhausted He endured insults and beatings yet no curses were uttered. Exhausted He set His face upon the cross and was joyfully obedient to the end. This is the nature of our Savior and Lord. He suffered and died for every grumbling word, every critical thought, every selfish motive…”the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” [Isaiah 53:6]
Let us not forget that Christ’s sufferings were great because our sins were great. The darkness, the earthquakes, the cries from the cross, the physical torture were all indications of the infinite amount of wrath stored up against us. To think back upon the sufferings of our Savior should make us hate our sin all the more. The smallest sin today was a heavy blow upon the head of Christ; not by a Roman soldier but by His dear Father. J.C. Ryle, in his commentary on Matthew, reminds us of the words regarding the Passion used in the Church of England: “Let this image of Christ crucified be always printed in our hearts. Let it stir us up to the hatred of sin, and provoke our minds to the earnest love of Almighty God.”
May solemn joy accompany us this day and all the days until His glorious appearing.