This week Christians all around the world will celebrate Easter. It is remarkable that events which happened so long ago in a small country in the Middle East have had such a profound effect on the lives of millions of people from every nation on earth. Jesus Christ was condemned by the religious leaders of his day as being worthy to die, even though his life and ministry had brought great blessing to countless people. His death on a cross fulfilled God’s purpose to reconcile the world to himself through Jesus.
The cross of Jesus reminds us that our sins are very serious. When we break God’s moral law we are guilty of sin. Every day of our lives we break God’s law. This law breaking has become so much a part of our lives that we lose sight of its seriousness. Indeed, many people today think that God’s law is no longer relevant. They see no reason why they should not worship and serve created things, use his name as a swear word, dishonour their parents, commit adultery, lie and steal. But the cross of Jesus tells us that sin is serious and has solemn consequences.
Some of those who were there when Jesus died recognised what kind of man he was. He was different from them and from us. One of the criminals who was crucified at the same time as Jesus said, “We are getting what our sins deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.” The Roman centurion who was supervising the execution said, “Truly this was a righteous man.” So why did he die? He did not die for his own sins, but took upon himself the punishment our sins deserve and died instead of us.
The cross of Jesus was a demonstration of the amazing love of God for sinful people. The Father gave his only Son to suffer and die. Jesus came willingly to suffer and die in our place. If we know him as our Saviour we will never have to face the eternal consequences of our sins. One Easter hymn says, “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, he only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in. O dearly, dearly, has he loved and we should love him too, and trust in his redeeming blood and try his works to do”