As we come to Easter, we remember the work of Christ – the glorious work of Christ! This Good Friday we remember the death of our Saviour. In the words of the Apostle Paul:“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
From these verses, we see several things about Christ’s death. Firstly, we see the great motive for the death of Christ. In the words “who loved me,” Paul is describing the great love that Jesus has for His people. Jesus is not a cold, mechanical saviour who just did what He had to do. He was not just there to get the job done – though He certainly does all things well. It was love for His people that motivated the eternal Son of God to give Himself unto death. What a love indeed! “… Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Have you considered the love of Christ recently? It should always be our desire to know its height, depth, breadth and length – every dimension of that love. It was not because of our intrinsic greatness or worth that He came; it was not our love-ableness, or our righteous deeds. There was nothing in us that demanded that the Lord Jesus come down and die for us – but it was infinite, everlasting, steadfast love!
The next thing we see is that in dying on the cross, Jesus died FOR His people – in their place. A true swap occurred at the cross – the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). It was not for the righteous that Christ died; it was for the ungodly, for sinners, for His enemies! Paul says this in his letter to Rome: ‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’ (Romans 5:6-10).
As Paul said in Galatians 2, Christ “gave Himself for me.” For Paul! Who had hated Christ and His church with every breath. For us! Who were His enemies and who had no love for Him. We see the greatness of the cross when we see our utter unworthiness and sinfulness, and yet Christ singled us out and died for us! This is what we should all be saying: “Christ Jesus gave Himself for ME.” “Christ Jesus died for ME”. Jesus didn’t die for an ambiguous people – He laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:15).
If you are a Christian, do you realise that Jesus set His love on YOU, and died for YOU? That He gave Himself for YOU?
The infinite, eternal Son of God took upon Himself our flesh and died upon a cross, bearing our sins and the punishment for them. He died in our place and He did it out of His free, infinite love! May we never forget this to the day we die, and may we remember it this Easter.