Nothing crystallizes a Christian’s mind like Easter. Easter morning is the day when Christ’s victory over the grave ends. As glorious as that day was for Christ’s closest followers, the days leading up to it were far from glorious. On Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, Christ was separated from His Heavenly Father:

Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

To most people, the thought of Christ being separated from His Father is difficult to imagine. Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth provides the explanation:

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Right before He died, Christ, the Man who never sinned, had all of humankind’s sins placed on His shoulders. At that moment, theologians think that God the Father couldn’t look at His Son because of our sins.

God didn’t owe us a pathway to eternal life, far from it. In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Later in that same letter, Paul wrote “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.”

We deserved eternal separation from Christ’s love. God chose to not give us what we deserve. That’s called mercy. Instead, thanks to Christ’s death on that cruel Cross at Calvary, Christ gave us a pathway to eternal life in God’s presence. Christ gives us the opportunity that we don’t deserve. That’s called grace and it’s a magnificent thing.

For me, the most emotional part of the salvation story is the story of 2 thieves who were crucified with Christ. Here’s that story:

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Let this picture remind you that you, like the second criminal, can be with Christ in Paradise if you trust in Christ as your Savior:

Happy Easter, everyone. If you haven’t invited Christ to be your Savior, I pray that you’ll invite Jesus into your heart to be your Savior. There’s no time like the present.

If you’ve already accepted Christ as your Savior, Halleluiah. Today is the best day for celebrating.

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