So many people try to work their way to heaven. They think that by working harder, being nicer, helping those in need, saying certain prayers, giving money to particular causes, and going to church services more often, that they somehow will earn the favor of God. In other words, they try to stack good deeds upon good deeds trying to get to heaven.
But the truth of the matter is that none of our good works can make up for the sin in our lives. Sin has left a crimson stain on our hearts that cannot be erased by good works. No matter how good we are, we are still separated by God because of our sin. He is holy; we are not. Even our best efforts are lined with hints of self-righteousness, pride and missing the mark of perfection.
The only way to find forgiveness, peace and eternal life is by faith trusting in the finished work of Jesus on the cross as the payment for your sin, and believing that he rose from the dead as your living Savior! Believe that he died for you. Believe that he rose from the dead. Confess him as the Lord and Savior of your life. He will forgive you and make you righteous in God’s eyes.
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
In John 19, we read John’s account of the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The details that the Holy Spirit led John to record give us great insight into the magnitude of Jesus’ love for people and his steadfast commitment to provide the way for people to be saved.
The cross fulfilled prophecy. Jesus himself prophesied that he would be put to death by the leaders in Jerusalem. (He prophesied that he would come back to life on the third day as well!) On the day of his crucifixion, some of the words that he spoke and activities that occurred fulfilled Messianic prophecies that were spoken more than 700 years before Jesus was born.
24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: ‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.’
36 For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’37 Also, another Scripture says: ‘They will look at the one they pierced.’
The cross was filled with agony. Jesus was beaten so badly that he was barely recognizable. He was struck with a cat-of-nine-tails, leather straps embedded with pieces of glass, broken pottery, rocks and bones, a torture device that literally ripped the skin off of your body when you were whipped by it. A makeshift crown of three-inch thorns was shoved into his forehead causing blood to pour down his face. He was forced to carry his cross to the place of his crucifixion, publicly ridiculed and humiliated along the way.
Almost all of his followers deserted him. The spikes that held him on the cross were driven straight through his hands, wrists and ankles. He no doubt was jarred and pulled as the cross was set into place in the ground. Hanging on the cross, it was almost impossible to take a breath because of the agony caused by trying to push himself up by his feet, feeling the sharp pains as he leaned on the spikes in his ankles.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.
His mother stood nearby, as did one of his disciples, John. Jesus tenderly asked John to take care of his mother after he was gone. Jesus’ friend and mother saw his agony on the cross. Jesus experienced separation from the Father for the first time as he took upon himself the punishment for our sins.
6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
The cross gives us victory! Jesus had told Pilate earlier that he had not come to establish an earthly kingdom but rather an eternal, spiritual kingdom. On the cross, his excruciating thirst caused him to ask for something to drink. They gave him sour wine and then from the cross Jesus spoke the words, “It is finished.” By speaking those words, he was declaring that the work he had come to do was complete, the work of providing the means for all people to be saved.
30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.”Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.
8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 3:18a
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.
Where are you in your relationship with God? Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior? If not, won’t you pause right now, pray to God, and in your own words…
- thank God for the death of Jesus that paid the penalty for your sin
- ask God to forgive you of your sin
- tell God that you believe that Jesus rose from the dead
- surrender your life to Jesus as your Savior and Lord (boss of your life)
- thank God for saving you
Perhaps right now you have just received Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life, if so then I want to help you any way that I can. Contact me HERE.
For many of you, Jesus is already the Savior and Lord of your life. Praise God! Take some time today thanking God for your salvation, and consider how God may want to use you today to lead others to life-changing faith in Jesus.