Good Friday. Today is the day we remember. Today is the day I remember.
Today is the day that I remember Christ's very real, very humiliating, very excruciating death on the cross...for me. It was through this single act of self-sacrifice that my sins against a Holy God were atoned for and paid for in full. Through faith in Jesus Christ and the events that occurred on this day and the subsequent events that followed, I can be forgiven of my many offenses against the God of Heaven and Earth and be brought into right relationship with Him. Incredible! I am so thankful!
And though the significance of this day is found in much of what I've just stated, this day also provides meaning that extends beyond substitutionary atonement. On this day, not only did Christ pay the price for our sins, He modeled the pattern for our lives.
Much more was nailed to the cross than body of Christ and the penalty for our sin.
Christ's will was nailed to the cross.
Christ's pride was nailed to the cross.
Christ's desire was nailed to the cross.
Christ's influence was nailed to the cross.
Christ's authority was nailed to the cross.
Christ's significance was nailed to the cross.
Obedience to God is death to self. And never again will this be so clearly displayed than on the cross of Jesus Christ.
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8
Paul writes, "Have this mind yourselves..."
In other words, this act of sacrifice and humility isn't only what we should believe in, but this act of sacrifice and humility is also how we should behave like.
The life of a follower of Christ is one in which we, like Christ, are to pick up our "crosses" daily and crucify our will, our pride, our desire, our influence, our authority, and our significance in obedience to God. Our purposes exchanged for His.
Because this was the way of Christ. This is the way of Christ's followers.
And as difficult and as unfulfilling as "dying to self" may seem and, often times, is, let us never forget...
Everything that Christ willingly and sacrificially put to death, God miraculously and victoriously raised it to life. Everything Christ had seemingly lost, humanity ultimately gained.
Death to self. Life for others. This is our assignment.
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity." John 12:24-25