Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Saturday!

I guess the appropriate Jewish greeting would be "Good Shabbos"--"Good Sabbath." I just figure if Friday was Good Friday and Sunday is Resurrection Sunday, then maybe this ought to Good Saturday.
I said yesterday that I would add to the comments on the cross of Christ, but I'm not sure today what I had planned on mentioning. Just this, I guess. Last night I brought out the heart-wrenching scene in "Saving Private Ryan," where Capt John Miller, played by Tom Hanks, is lying on a bridge, bleeding from bullet wounds. He grabs Ryan by the shirt front, pulls him close and says, "Earn this!" In the last scene of the film, a much older James Ryan is in Arlington National Cemetery, kneeling at the cross of Capt Miller--the one who died to give him life & freedom. And he says, "Every day, I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I've done my best to live a good life. I hope that, in your eyes, I have earned what all of you have given me."
Is that the nature of the cross of Christ, though? Did Jesus go to the cross with an attitude of, "They'd better appreciate what I'm doing for them!"? Is the cross of Christ about Jesus pulling us close by the shirt front and saying "Earn this!"?
In short, No. The cross is a gift of love, not a loan to be repaid. The debt of sin forgiven is too great, even for the best of us, to ever come close to paying him back! Most Christians know this, and would immediately reject the idea that we can earn our salvation. Many of these same Christians, though, kneel at the cross of the One who died to give them life, and say, "Well... I hope I make it. I hope I'm good enough." Relax. You're not. Neither am I. The standard of "good enough" is the sinless life of Jesus. We can never be good enough to compel God to admit us through the pearly gates! The only way we will make it, is by putting our trust in Jesus, accepting that his blood covers our sins, and we are righteous through him!
The cross of Jesus--and the forgiveness we have as a result--is a gift! Receive it. Remember it. Thank him for it.

Have a good Resurrection Sunday! I'll catch y'all in a day or two.

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