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Good news DAY 15

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open

Matt. 27:50-52

Yesterday wasn’t a good day for many. Lockdown for another two more weeks. But today was a good day. Actually the best day ever. Good Friday. For many people this day in the past just meant the start of a long weekend, ample chocolate bunnies to eat and a well-earned rest from a fast-paced life. But today was different. Maybe for you as well. People all over the world were forced in lockdown to really contemplate why it is called ‘Good Friday’. Especially in the midst of all the pain and suffering, all the discomfort and fear billions of people are facing right now.

Good Friday, is aptly named so because of a little word that we find multiple times in the New Testament – Evangelio, the Gospel. Directly translated it means the Good News. I grew up in a Christian home and yet this Good News sometimes sounded more like Good Advice. Let me explain.

Let’s say we all lived in a little village and suddenly come under attack. We run to the castle and are locked down. Oops, bit of a touchy example. But let’s continue anyway. Our enemy is banging on the door and we are frightened for our lives. Suddenly an advisor comes to the front giving us advice on how to fight the enemy. He starts giving advice on what weapons to use, who should fight etc. This might help a bit, but once we see the enemy outside our courage fades. Suddenly someone else sneaks through the castle walls and brings us a message. He is full of excitement when he says that a great Hero came and defeated the enemy on our behalf, all we need to do is believe and step out of the castle. Now this isn’t Good Advice, this is Good News.

News is a past event. Likewise, Good Friday is about the Good News of a past event – a historical event of a man, Jesus, who died at the hands of the Romans after being condemned to death by the leaders of his time. This is a historical fact with a massive impact today. Maybe you have always heard this story from a far, perhaps you’ve misunderstood what Christianity is all about. Perhaps you were thinking, like I did for many years, that it is all about being a good enough person. Trying your best to follow the good advice of the Bible. And maybe like me you ended up frustrated and disappointed that you couldn’t live up to the standard and that the freedom that the Bible speaks about was always just out of reach. Freedom from past mistakes, hurt, that old habitual sin that has caused so much pain in you and others’ lives. Basically – religion has left you tired. Tired of all the advice that you can’t seem to get right.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom

Well then let me share the Good News and not Good Advice with you. God loved us so much that He sent his only Son, Jesus to live the life we could never live – holy, perfect, sinless. He then died the death we should have died, paying for the sin of the world, in our place. When He died the curtain of the temple tore from the top to the bottom. Now, that temple curtain was the symbol of separation between man and God. God, holy and sinless, made his presence to dwell in the holy of holies on the other side of the curtain. Only the High Priest could enter in once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. When Jesus let out his final breath and that curtain tore, He made a new way for us to have a relationship with God. Good News. And the best about this is that the curtain tore from the top to the bottom and not the other way around. God made the first move. In his love, He brought reconciliation between us and Him. He came down, from top to bottom. And now because of Good Friday, because of the Good News you and I too can have a living relationship with God. Have you responded to this Good News yet? He made the first move and is waiting for you now.

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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