Yesterday was Maundy Thursday, the commemoration of the Last Supper in the upper room where Jesus ate with His disciples and celebrated communion together before the betrayal by Judas and Jesus’ eventual crucifixion. It was also during this event that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and taught them the lessons of service and community. And of course, today is Good Friday, the day we remember the death of Jesus on a cross for the sins of all of us.
From the triumphal entry in Jerusalem to His death on a cross, the story of the last week of the life of Jesus is the most powerful story ever told. Here we are, 2000 years later, still talking about, worshipping and following this leader who we have praised as Lord and Savior. And what makes this so powerful is the fact that Jesus and His Father love us more than we could ever possibly imagine. No matter how hard each of us works, we can’t earn our way into heaven – or for that matter, work our way into heaven.
God the Father and Jesus make it quite clear that the Old Testament law was only put into place until the advent of the new covenant. We learn from our study of the New Testament that Jesus came to earth in bodily form to save us – not to judge us. And He became the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world. That means that He died in our place and that His death, on a cross, paid the price for the sins of the entire world. I know that’s difficult to believe but God gives us that assurance.
So if we can’t earn our way into heaven, and we can’t work our way into heaven, how do we get there? The answer is the title of this post – we are saved by grace! That’s what the whole mission of Jesus is about. His death and resurrection provide a way for us to be re-connected with God. And as I have said before, it is the resurrection of Jesus that sets Christianity apart from the rest of the world religions. If Christ had not risen from the dead, on the day we celebrate as Easter, then Christianity would have faced extinction as there was nothing really remarkable about the founder of a religion dying – the power is in the return to life. And Jesus is the only one who has done that…
As I was thinking about the verse to use for today, I happened to notice that our niece is working on a new study connected with the YouVersion Bible. In case you are not familiar with this Bible app, it is a great way to stay connected with God and many churches now offer this as a great way to follow along with the sermon notes. While Tracy and I have both done numerous reading plans from YouVersion, Tracy actually posted a certain verse that speaks directly into the topic we are studying today.
So, in honor of Tracy and all those other Christians who are preparing for the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, our verse is from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul tells us, in Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
My encouragement this Good Friday is that Christ wants us to know that He died for all people – as all the sins of the world were heaped on His shoulders. My prayer is that Sunday you will celebrate the Risen Christ and that you will accept the free gift of salvation that has been given to you – by grace. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…