For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 1 Peter 3:18
Our Fighter Verse tells us that Jesus (the righteous) suffered once for your sins (the unrighteous). Jesus’ suffering had to happen in order for us to be able to be with God. But his suffering was not the end. He was put to death in the flesh, but also made alive in the Spirit.
On Thursday of Holy Week Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal together. This meal was a reminder and celebration of the Exodus- the day God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage. But at this Passover celebration Jesus turns the meal around towards a new meaning. Now it is about Him and His death and resurrection. It is about freedom from sin, not freedom from Egypt. It is a new covenant. A Covenant of grace not law.
The Passover meal on Maundy Thursday explains Good Friday. Why did Jesus have to die?
Have you wrestled with this question lately?
Peter answers it for us- “that he might bring us to God.” This statement tells us two important things:
1) Jesus had to die for you. You could not save yourself. Trust me if there was any other way, Jesus and the Father would have come up with it. Death was the only option. To satisfy a Holy God, the wage of sin had to be paid. Justice had to be done. And you could not be the justice giver. You were the justice deserver. You deserve the death. The punishment. The rejection.
If this does not sit well with you then maybe you struggle with the holiness of God. Or maybe you struggle with the severity of your sin. Or maybe you struggle with the nature of justice. Does the idea of God punishing evil bother you? If someone kidnapped and murdered your daughter would you struggle with the idea of justice for that murderer? Would you want them living in your neighborhood, roaming free to kill again?
You’re the murderer.
2) Jesus did die for you. Oh how He loves us! Anyone might die for a righteous and good person. But Jesus died for you even though you were his enemy and full of unrighteousness. The righteous died for the unrighteous. This is unfathomable love.
And not only that…not only did he die to forgive us, to take our place, to pay our debt, and satisfy God’s justice, He was made alive in the Spirit that we too might be made alive in the Spirit.
Grace abounds way beyond forgiveness into new life. A life given to us. Not a life taken from us. We are given the very divine life of Christ so that now we might live for God in full dependence and trust of God just as Jesus himself did.
This is what I mean when I say “we don’t give our lives to Jesus.” What I mean is that what actually happens is that Jesus gives us his life. Now our lives are united and Jesus lives his life through our life. This is done by the Spirit. Us giving our lives to Jesus implies that he simply fixes our old lives, when in reality He crucifies our old lives and resurrects his own life inside of us (Romans 6).
Is it still us? Yes! You still are you. But now your very life force (spirit) is the same as his. Your desires, motivations, mindsets, feelings and imaginations are Christ’s. That is the New Covenant. That is what Maundy Thursday was about. That is what Good Friday was about. That is what Jesus is all about.