Christ died on the cross so we could live

Why did God allow Jesus to be put to death? Couldn’t God have found another way to take away our sins and give us salvation? — P.F.

Today, millions of Christians around the world will celebrate what we have come to call “Good Friday” — the day almost 2,000 years ago that the Roman authorities condemned Jesus Christ and then executed Him by nailing Him to a cross.

Why do we call it “Good Friday”? We don’t call it that because Jesus’ death was a joyous occasion — for it wasn’t. We call it “Good Friday” because on that day the greatest event in human history took place: Jesus Christ won our salvation by taking upon Himself the sins of the world. He was without sin — but on the cross He willingly took upon Himself your sins and my sins, and He endured the judgment and Hell that we deserve. We deserve to die for our sins — but He died in our place.

You see, only one thing separates us from God — and that is our sin. We can’t erase our own sins, nor can we do anything to make ourselves acceptable to God. If we are to be saved, God alone can do it — and He did, in Jesus Christ! The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). There was no other way for us to be saved.

Take time today to reflect on Jesus Christ and His death for you. Then by faith invite Him to come into your life. When He does, He’ll forgive your sins and make you part of His family forever.

Did Jesus really rise from the dead on that first Easter? How was it possible? Or is the Easter story only a nice myth — just a symbol of the hope we all have for life after death, as one friend of mine says? — W.W.

No, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we read about in the Bible is not a myth or a symbol. Jesus Christ was a real man who really suffered and died — and on that first Easter He really rose from the tomb.

Does this seem incredible to you? Of course it does — because you and I know that once a person is dead, their life on this earth has ended and they don’t come back to life. And Jesus’ contemporaries knew it, too (more than we do, in fact, for death was common in the ancient world). As Job asked centuries before, “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14).

And yet, within days Jesus’ disciples were willing to risk death to proclaim the message of Christ. The reason? They knew beyond doubt that Jesus — whose death and burial they had witnessed — was alive and had walked among them. As the Apostle Paul recorded, “He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:5—6).

But Jesus Christ not only came back from the grave almost 2,000 years ago. He is alive even today, and by His Spirit He wants to come into our lives. Because He rose from the dead we can have hope — hope right now, and hope for eternity. This Easter put your faith and trust in Him.

My sister struggled with severe depression most of her life and had to be hospitalized several times. Last year, she finally got so depressed that she took her own life. In spite of everything, she had a strong faith, but is suicide the unforgivable sin, as some people say? It’s all been very painful to me. — Mrs. M.M.

The only sin God cannot forgive is the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit’s witness to Jesus Christ and His offer of forgiveness. Only when we reject God will He reject us.

God understands your heartache — and I want to assure you that He also knew all about your sister’s struggles. Medical science has made many advances in helping us understand emotional problems, but there’s still much we don’t understand. Take confidence in your sister’s faith in Christ, and rejoice that she is now beyond the pains and sorrows of this world.

I don’t want to be misunderstood, however. Suicide is extremely serious and tragic in God’s eyes, and if someone who is reading this is contemplating suicide, I beg of you to reconsider and seek help for whatever your problem may be. God loves you, and He does not want you to end your life.Instead, put your faith and hope in Christ and His love for you. You are never alone if you know Him, because nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Why doesn’t God stop all the evil in the world? I know we’re supposed to believe that God is kind and loving, but I just lost my 6—year—old nephew to leukemia, and it’s hard to keep believing in a loving God. — Mrs. V.G.

I have pondered questions like this most of my life — and to be honest, I still don’t have a full answer to this difficult problem. Someday, we will understand — but not now. As the Apostle Paul (who was no stranger to suffering) wrote, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But which is better: to decide that God hates us and doesn’t care about us — or to believe that He loves us and wants to help us in our times of grief or fear?

I suspect you know the answer: It’s far better to trust God and believe in His love, even when our path is dark. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord forever.”