1 John 4:10-11, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." NIV
Blood trickled across Jesus' brow and cheek as Pilate looked on with dismay. "Hadn't the crowds hailed Him as Messiah only days before? Why now, do they jeer for his death? Crowds are so fickle. Why are the masses so easily swayed?" Pilate wondered.
Yet the crowd's insurgence compelled him to pass his sentence quickly--"Crucify Him!"
"Crucifixion?"--Pilate shook his head in disbelief of what he was about to do.
"How can I condemn an innocent man to die the cruelest of deaths?" He thought to himself.
With a final glance, Pilate looked at Jesus, perhaps expecting judgment, or a final desperate cry from Him to reconsider, but instead, experienced Christ's pardon. The two men exchanged no words, only glances. Yet in that moment, Pilate encountered God's unexplainable mercy. Christ's eyes of compassion declared, "I forgive you...this is not the plan of men, but of God."
With Christ's mandate fixed and His mission nearly complete, He turned toward Golgotha! Endured nails! Mockery! And, accepted the weight of mankind's sin upon His body! As darkness passed, with one final breath, Jesus roared the cry of victory, "It is finished."
And in that moment, God made access for all mankind and revealed His character. His actions declared, "I Am the God who bears your infirmities. I know your pain. I understand the bitterness of betrayal. I endured the weight of sin, and felt the scourge of death. I saw your helpless estate and took your punishment. And so, I now declare to you, your victory." Never has a greater love been revealed. God's love is unequalled; when we come to God, there is no greater truth we must recognize.
The God who breathed stars into existence, who created every living creature by His spoken word, who alone holds all things together--loves you. He proved His love by humbling Himself and taking on flesh; and being found in appearance of man, further demonstrated His love by becoming obedient to death., even death on the cross.
Why?--because He loves us. His love stopped at nothing. God went to great lengths to make a way for us to fellowship with Him. He left the glory of heaven; faced humiliation; and literally endured flesh being stripped from His body,; in order to grant us access into His Presence.
God's love does not hold us at arms length. He never requires us to beg or plead for His affection. God promises that if we draw near to Him and He will draw near to us!
So, as we reflect on Good Friday and Jesus' sacrifice, let's press into Him today. "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:22-23, NIV)
Prayer: Father, thank you for our salvation and the hope we through Christ. Draw near to us today and empower us to live for You! In Jesus name, amen.