April is a special month for Christians because of the Good Friday and the Easter. These two events are the core events of Christian faith. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is at the heart of the gospel. If Jesus did not die, there would be no forgiveness of sins and salvation. If Jesus died but did not rise from the dead, there would be no hope of eternal life. Now, believing in the cross of Christ might look easy for us today, but it was not the case in the early church.
The cross was the worst place to die. Someone who died on the cross died a humiliating death. The Romans reserved the cross for the worst criminals. The Jews saw the cross as the place of God's curse. Jesus' death on the cross was not seen as something good or glorious at that time. On the contrary, Jesus was seen as being cursed by God and committed the worst crime. They believed that if Jesus was the real Messiah, God would not abandon Him on the cross, and He would not die a horrible death. The greatest act of God's love was misunderstood. Imagine if you have to sacrifice your son, and after doing so (which is very hard), people still misunderstand you.
People's misunderstanding of the cross did not change God's plan to save human beings. Our salvation does not depend on our appreciation or understanding of what God has done. Our salvation depends the perfect work of Christ. Yes, Christ has done perfectly for our salvation. Instead of being the symbol of curse and crime, the cross is the symbol of the greatest love and glory. Yes, Jesus' glory was revealed when He was being humiliated up there on the cross. It is the glory of God's love, patience, and forgiveness.
The empty tomb clearly showed that death is not the final word. It showed that misunderstanding is not the final word. The empty tomb demonstrated that God's love conquers sin and death. It displays the might power of God that triumphed over the forces of evil. The resurrection gives glory to the cross. After Jesus rose, everyone knows that He died on the cross not because He was cursed by God or committed the worst crime. He died on the cross to bear our curse and sin. It was not for His sin but for ours. He is sinless.
In the light of the cross and the empty tomb, we should not be afraid to love and forgive. Enmity, hatred, and evil will not prevail. They will eventually be defeated. Jesus is the suffering Savior and the risen Lord. While dying, He prayed for the forgiveness of His haters. After resurrection, He revealed himself to the disheartened and discouraged disciples. Jesus offers hope, real hope.
Let us celebrate Good Friday and Easter with boldness. Boldness to unashamedly proclaim God's love. Boldness to forgive and to love even our enemies. The cross is essentially God's love for His enemies. His blood heals us from our sins. His death reconciles us to God and others. His resurrection restores our hope in this world and in the next one. The spirit of boldness will cry out, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” This is the spirit of the cross and the empty tomb.