Have you noticed that when a book is written about a historically relevant figure, the vast majority of the book is dedicated to the person’s life; to what s/he was doing when that person was alive? Have you noticed that usually only the last chapter talks about that person’s death?
Fully one third of the Gospels is devoted to Jesus’ death.
No other major religion celebrates the death of it’s leader. In all other major religions, it’s the person’s life that has had the major impact on society, not h/his death. Not so with Christianity. Jesus’ death and especially His resurrection are the meat of Christianity.
Another thing about Jesus, something that is different from other people upon whom religions have been founded, is that Jesus went to his death willingly and deliberately. Prior to His death, Jesus told His followers:
That He would die
When He would die
How He would die
Who would kill Him,
Why He needed to die in this manner
That He would rise again from the dead
When He would rise from the dead, and
Why it was important that He rise from the dead.
The importance of His death and resurrection of course have to do with making possible the forgiveness of our sins and the reconciliation, the renewing of a healed relationship for us with our Creator.
Our sin is what separates us from God.
The sin that Jesus took upon Himself is what separated God the Son from God the Father.
My sins, the punishment that I deserved was taken upon Himself by Jesus.
Your sins, the punishment that you deserve was taken upon Himself by Jesus for your sake.
Sadly the humility required to accept that forgiveness is too much for some people.
Now, while there is only one way to experience reconciliation with Creator God, there are several ways in which you can respond to the offer of reconciliation. These different ways of responding are highlighted in the reactions of those who were involved in Jesus’ death.
The soldiers divided His clothes. They just went about their daily duties in life and completely missed the meaning of Jesus and the cross.
The religious leaders mocked Jesus. The self righteous believe they don’t need Jesus in order to be good. They most certainly see no need for forgiveness. I’m always amazed at how similar atheists are to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.
Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He even rightly called Him King of the Jews, but he caved to the opinion of others.
The Bystanders were totally detached. They knew all about Jesus and what happened, but His death had no effect on them.
The Roman Centurian, this battle hardened soldier, accustomed to death and dying, after seeing how Jesus died voluntarily and with power said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”
What's Your Reaction?
If we are guilty, and our Creator say that we are, then justice states that justice must be served.
The sword of justice fell on Jesus.
Jesus said that He came to give His life as a ransom for many, including you.
We can either let Him pay the debt for our sins, or we WILL take our guilt with us to the grave and then begin to pay down the debt ourselves, a debt so great that even a lifetime in hell will not suffice.
Now, before your last breath, you still have time to adjust your response to this offer of forgiveness and reconciliation.