Word of the Month

Good Friday

April 2003

It is not the suffering of Christ that is central to the gospel, but rather the triumphant Christ who resurrected, who ascended to heaven, and who will return one day. In accordance with the plan of salvation, however, it was necessary that He die the cruel death on the cross so that the victory over hell and the grave could be attained, followed by His resurrection and ascension.

Many sacrifices have already been brought here on earth, and many a one has even given up his life for an ideal. These events, though, are not comparable with Jesus' sacrifice, because He was not subject to the law of death yet submitted Himself to it nonetheless. The Son of God gave his innocent life for the redemption of man. His sacrifice would really be sufficient for all of mankind, but in the Gospel of Mark it states that he gave "His life a ransom for many" (c.f. Mark 10:45), implying that not all people will make use of the offer of grace.

Let us rejoice that we are able to recognize and confess with Apostle Peter that we were healed by His wounds (c.f. 1 Peter 2:24). By taking the burden of sin upon Himself the Son of God opened the way to salvation and eternal life. And by sending the Holy Spirit He made the rebirth possible, and promised to come again in order to take His own unto Himself into eternal fellowship with God.

Salvation through His wounds was offered us when we received the childhood in God through the laying on of hands of an Apostle sent by Jesus. Only through His wounds, in the forgiveness of sins, can we be freed from the claims of the Evil One: what immeasurable salvation! Salvation is also offered us in the form of God's help and care, which we continually pray for in all humbleness. Jesus' pledge: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20), grants us new courage and confidence, particularly in affliction and adversity. The peace laid into our hearts by the Risen One bears salvation. We could yield to the fear in this world dedicated to sin, but Jesus said: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Jesus Christ "became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (c.f. 1 Corinthians 1:30). Here too the salvation out of the Lord's sacrifice manifests itself. Wisdom proceeds out of the fear of the Lord, and righteousness proceeds out of faith. Let us engage both of these so that we experience salvation and full redemption on the day of the Lord.

(From a service by the Chief Apostle)