“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”
As we approach Passion week and the Easter story, it is essential that we take time to consider and reflect on the cross of Jesus and what that truly means. Often in our excitement and joy in the resurrection we quickly move past Good Friday and the suffering that Jesus endured on our behalf. It’s most likely because we do not wish to dwell on the negative. But Jesus’ crucifixion carries a much bigger message than just being the prerequisite to the resurrection. And it would be a mistake to take it lightly or not take the time to contemplate and meditate on its meaning in our lives.
First of all, the crucifixion of Jesus was all God’s idea. He had planned it, orchestrated it, and commanded it as necessary for the salvation of His created beings, including you and I. Paul writes in Acts 2:23 that, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” The choice of crucifixion as the means of death was not outside of God’s control and so it was chosen by Him. It was perhaps the most brutal and horrible form of execution that has ever existed. But He chose it because our brutal and horrible sinfulness required such a payment. God cannot tolerate sin. It is against His nature. It must be punished and accounted for.
Today, we read or learn about current events from broadcast news, the internet, or through other forms of media. But before the advent of television and the internet it was often customary for announcements and important news to be posted in public. In the 16th century Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses that started the Reformation on the door of the Church at Wittenberg, Germany. And when the Catholic Church issued the papal bull ex-communicating him from the church, it was nailed to a tree outside the church at Wittenberg. So when God had Jesus crucified, he was making a public announcement for the entire world to see. He did it by nailing Jesus to a tree! This was no insignificant act but the judgment of God being proclaimed to the world! The Sin of the World was being punished! God publicly nailed it!
But as we now know, that was not the end of the story. God also raised Jesus from the dead three days later and declared that the price for our sin had been paid in full! We were no longer slaves to sin (John 8:34-36). We have been completely forgiven through the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God, who took upon himself the punishment of all of our sins so that we might be free from sin and inherit eternal life (John 3:16). It was God’s perfect and planned solution to our sin problem. There was no other way for us to be reconciled with a Holy and Righteous God unless the price for sin had been paid.
On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, God’s plan was perfectly executed! In today’s language, God completely nailed it!!
So as we prepare for Passion Week, let us not skip over the significance of Jesus being nailed to a cross for our sins. Let us contemplate not only how God did it, but why God did it! We should remember the cross every day of our lives, because it represents the eternal payment for our sin. It was God who first loved us (1 John 4:19) and God who acted on our behalf (Romans 3:8). We must never forget the cross and we must never minimize or trivialize it. Instead, let us confess our sins, repent of them, and receive the full forgiveness and pardon that Jesus earned for us on the cross!