I find it almost eerily coincidental that today, April 2, is Good Friday. This is the day that the Christian world recognizes as the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to a cross and executed for crimes He had not committed. It is perhaps...no it is the most intriguingly wonderful tragedy of history.
His sacrificial death was His mission. It was not mission suddenly aborted, but mission accomplished. At 33 years old this Jewish carpenter turned teacher died in His prime, not as a failure but as the victor. Three days after being entombed His comeback from death would stand as the ultimate evidence that He was Who He claimed to be.
The heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus' death was necessary to give life to any and all who will believe in Him as their Savior. As He had predicted, the seed must fall into the ground and die in order to bear fruit. It was His dying role as our substitute - taking our sin upon Himself and bearing God's judgment for our sin -that made it possible for sinners (like me) to have God's forgiveness and possess His everlasting life. He died that we might live.
But I said today's history changing event of 2 millenium ago was "coincidental". So if you've been hanging with me this far you might wonder, "With what?".
Two years ago today someone unknown to me died. Likely it was a tragic death. At the least it was untimely. But of those details I have no information. It seems I heard that the one who died was male. However, I'm not sure of that.
But his death on 4/2/08 was not in vain.
Unknown to him and his family my daughter-in-law was living under a death sentence called cystic fibrosis. Her lungs were so hardened by the disease that without a double lung transplant, and soon, she would likely not live to see her nearly three month old daughter reach her first birthday.
In their grief, whoever they are - parents - spouse - family - those who were next of kin to that young adult who died graciously and selflessly agreed to allow his lungs to be "harvested". A team from Duke Medical Center flew to their location, retrieved those lungs that were free of CF, and on the evening of April 2 began the nine plus hour surgery on Tricia that would give her new life. It was a transaction none of us who know her will ever forget.
Sure, there are plenty of differences in the stories. What you or I gain from trading in our diseased souls for His life is eternal. Jesus chose to suffer and die.
But in both instances death provides life and the giver of that life "lives" within the recipient.
So today is a day of celebration doubled for our family. And for both we give thanks to God, the Giver of all good things.
Perhaps you're reading this and have never recieved the life Jesus freely offers. I hope you'll consider that God loves you with such an immeasurable love that He would allow His one and only Son to be your Substitute so that you could find freedom, forgiveness and a relationship with God that you were created to possess.
To receive that life requires one thing - faith (belief) that Jesus died for you. It's the kind of faith that must be exlusively in Him. By that I mean that you don't add Jesus to a list of gods. It's a faith that only He can give you eternal life.
It's not about a church or a ritual or saying a prayer. It's about simply believing. It costs you nothing. It cost Him everything. And He's willing to share.