On the first day of this Most Holy Week over 2000 years ago, Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, knowing before the week was over he would die.
Three years before, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him to be baptized and exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The Lamb of God. He was here. Finally. The one they had been waiting for was here. They should have been thrilled. Jesus began his ministry in the temple reading from the book of Isaiah.
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Then he boldly professed that He was the fulfillment of these words. The people who heard were furious. How dare he? Who did he think he was? For three years they attempted to destroy him, to hurt him, discredit him, blaspheme him, trick him, violate him. They did everything in their power to prove him wrong and unworthy, but they couldn’t.
Throughout his ministry he revealed some of who he was to his disciples and to others. He made statements such as, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” “No man comes to the Father except by me.”
22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Luke 9:44, 45
“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
I can so relate to this. How many times have people said things to me and it just went right over my head? There have been times I just needed someone to squeeze my little cheeks and say “LOOK me in the eyes! LiSTEN to what I’m saying!” This was one of those times the disciples needed to HEAR and they just couldn’t grasp what he was telling them. They just had no idea, besides, Jesus was in his early 30’s. Who’s thinking about dying at 30?
Jesus goes through the next 3 years doing good, refuting every tongue that rises up against him, mainly Jewish religious leaders. They of all people should have known. But they couldn’t see. The Bible says that because of their rebellion and their hardened hearts, God had covered their eyes, so the they couldn’t see.
Fast Forward: It’s time for the Passover meal. The disciples gather in the upper room and Jesus comes to celebrate with them. This is the same exact meal that Moses told the children of Israel they were to observe every single year to remember what God had done when He had passed over them in Egypt. But that meal was also to look forward to what God would do in the future, and dear reader, the future had come.
15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
God didn’t leave out any detail. The Passover Lamb should be sacrificed on Passover. On this day, Good Friday, over 2000 years ago, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders. They did so under shroud of darkness and attempted to find someone to witness against Jesus. After failing to find a credible witness who could say anything Jesus had done wrong, they decided to take him to Pilate and Herod. This is what Pilate had to say:
14“You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” 
Jesus, the Lamb of God, had been examine. Neither Herod nor Pilate could find fault in him. He was perfect. This is very important, because the Lamb to be sacrificed had to be without spot or blemish and Jesus was declared by both to be innocent of any wrong. For three years the religious leaders had tried to trick him and catch him in something wrong and never could.
The crowd called for his death. “Crucify Him!” And so they did.
At the very moment the Priests were sacrificing the passover lambs for the people, THE PASSOVER LAMB was being slain for our sin…the sin of the whole world, of those who will believe. God’s timing is immaculate.
The perfect lamb of God would die a criminal’s death for us. He took our place. What we could never do for ourselves, God sent His son to do for us. Jesus, son of the Most High God, willingly left His home in heaven to offer his life in ransom for ours. Do you remember what Adam did for Eve? Let me remind you here :
Eve had sinned. Adam was still in a perfect relationship with God. He had not sinned. But Adam knew that the only way to save Eve from the penalty of her sin was if there were a human redeemer. And there could be no redeemer without a child being born. Since Adam was the only man, there could be no child born without him. Adam made a decision to come down to the level of his wife in order to save her.
You can read the whole account here. Adam is a picture of what Jesus did for us.
Jesus left Heaven and lowered himself to become a man, in order to save us. When there was no way for us to save ourselves, God made a way. Jesus willingly died for us. Our sin put him on the cross. But before he died, He prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Someone might say, why shroud all of this is such mystery? Why didn’t God just spell it out, loud and clear, so we could understand it all from the beginning. There is a tiny little verse that says a mouthful. Paul explains this very thing to us with these words.
1 Corinthians 2
7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
God couldn’t let the details be known, openly. Jesus had to die to redeem the world. But through each segment of history, God revealed just enough for the people to have something to believe, something on which to pin their faith. The journey through the Bible leads to one place. The cross and the Passover Lamb.
Beginning with the seed of woman, the line of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the Passover lamb, the virgin, Bethlehem, the manger….And then a perfect life, the life I so long to live and yet fall so short…. that perfect life was given for my sin… and yours.
The moment Jesus died, scripture says the curtain in the temple, the one the High Priests had to go behind to enter the Holy of Holies to pray for the people…that very curtain, was torn from the top to the bottom. It was 18 inches thick. Man didn’t tear it…it was rent in two by God. Man no longer needed a priest to intercede for him. The way had been made, by Jesus, for us once again to approach God’s throne personally, ourselves. In fact, I love this,
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Today is Good Friday. It’s the day Jesus died for you and me so we could be redeemed back to God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
But that’s not all….