April 19

Why Celebrate Death?

 

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Painting is by Monica Grief Boulton and was submitted to me for use in a Good Friday celebration called the Passion Walk at Community Fellowship Church on Good Friday, 2019.

 

The reason Christians celebrate Easter seems to make sense to everyone.  Jesus was dead and now he is alive.  Let’s celebrate, right.  Yeah, that’s an easy one to understand.  But why in the world do we celebrate Jesus’ death on Good Friday?

It seems anti-christian to some to celebrate the death of our Lord and Savior.  Many protestant Christians even try ‘not to think’ about His death on a cross and focus more and more attention on his resurrection on Easter.

That’s why we tend to choose the cross over the crucifix in our artwork as well.

We like an empty cross with a risen savior as the primary and only narrative of the Christian faith.

But Jesus did die.  And it is His death that becomes the crucible for our faith story.

So why should we celebrate Jesus’ death as well as His resurrection?

The Apostle Paul celebrates the death of Jesus.

Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Christian Communion or the “Lords Supper” is a celebration of His death.

1 Corinthians 11:23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Jesus’ willingness to die makes him the ‘propitiation’ for our sins.

1 John 2:2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

The word propitiation, also known as expiation, is the act of appeasing the holy and righteous anger of God related to the guilt of our sin.  You see, it is not some abstract sense of guilt that Jesus came to heal.  It is a specific guilt that humanity has toward their creator.  Our sin doesn’t just separate us from God, it created a positional difference in our relationship with the creator.  We offended God.  We broke the laws of the One who created us for a purpose.   Jesus came to appease that righteous anger and it is with His death that we are forgiven.  Christ’s death was the punishment that we deserved.

Consider this text from Scripture:

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Without death, there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Although we do not celebrate Jesus’ death the way we would celebrate a slam dunk or a touchdown… ie we don’t hope for it to happen again.  We do celebrate this amazing act of sacrificial service knowing all of the world wide and cosmic good it has done.

Thank you Jesus.

Brad