As Good Friday approaches, we are reminded about our Lord’s death. I am always fascinated by how the Old Testament keeps pointing us to Jesus as our Saviour. Jesus, when speaking to Nicodemus, recalled such a story. In the OT, when God’s people during the exodus complained against God and His provision, and against Moses, God punished them by sending venomous snakes that bit the people and they died.
When God’s people recognised their sin, they called on Moses to intercede to God for them. Moses was instructed to make a bronze snake and lift it up so that those who looked at it could be healed of the venom injected by the snakes for their sin and they would not die (Numbers 21:4-9).
This account highlights the Father’s love and compassion as well as His mercy towards sinners. Jesus was appointed by the Father, to be the life of the world (Jn 6:51). Before time began, this was God’s good plan (2 Tim 1:9, Isa 53). It was only Jesus’ death that could make proper satisfaction for our sin before a thrice holy God. When Christ hung upon the cross it was our sins that were the cause. As Paul reminds the Corinthians, that God made him (Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). Christ was made a ‘curse’ for us (Gal 3:13).
Just as the bronze serpent lifted up in the camp of Israel brought healing and health through faith to those who were bitten, so also, all who look to Jesus in faith can be forgiven and healed of the venom that the ‘serpent’ has injected into us (Jn 3:14-15), and be granted forgiveness and eternal life in glory.
This is why we celebrate Easter. Christ’s death and resurrection are really the foundation on which the Christian faith rests. By Christ, the perfect sacrifice being lifted-up on a cross, we, by faith in Him can celebrate, for we are no longer seen as worthy recipients of God’s wrath. We can celebrate that we can now enter into the very throne room of God as His adopted children in Christ.
Yes, without a doubt we are still sinners, but Christ suffered for us so that we can celebrate our forgiveness. Yes, death is still our enemy, but Christ rose from the dead, and we can celebrate that we shall surely follow. Yes, life is still difficult with many trials and temptations, but we can celebrate that nothing can separate us from God’s love to us in Christ. Yes, although the war has been won and we are still in a battle, we can now celebrate for the Holy Spirit equips us and we will share in Christ’s victory.
So, let us celebrate this Easter period. Christ has been lifted up on the cross and through his death and resurrection, the gates of heaven have been opened to all who would bow the knee before him and trust in his completed work. JZ