Good Friday March 29, 2013

Day 39 – The ‘Good’ of Good Friday

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Colossians 2:13-15

13 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having cancelled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.


To understand what these verses mean we have to understand how the Bible sees time.  The Bible sees history as divided into two great eras. Before Jesus came there was the present age—  ‘The world.’ Now that Jesus has come a new era has begun— ‘The age to come’ or ‘The Kingdom of God.

God was in sovereign control of the first era, but it was a world of bondage, in the grip of the primal forces, the basic elemental principles he refers to in Colossians 2:8. We were in bondage to the law, captive to laws we couldn’t keep. But there was another dimension to this— we couldn’t keep God’s written law, and so we were in a further bind.  We were in bondage to the power of evil.  This power held a catalogue of our failures – and so God had to condemn us.

 So there was a bondage to death because sin was a capital offence. Satan, like the implacable prosecutor he is, insists the penalty must be paid. So ironically, God, in his justice, cannot refuse Satan his demands for human life. C.S. Lewis brilliantly captures these three elements in his Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe:  Edmund has betrayed Peter, Susan and Lucy, and Aslan himself. The witch demanded Edmunds’s life:  “He has broken the laws of the deep,” she insisted.

 This is the natural condition of men and women in this world. There are laws we can’t keep. We are in the power of spiritual forces we can’t defeat. We are en route to a grave we can’t avoid. This is what Paul means by captivity.

But then came Jesus. At a single stroke he smashed the bars of this spiritual prison of the old age. He wiped out the moral debt of those broken laws we couldn’t obey. He disarmed the demonic powers we couldn’t overcome— triumphing over them, making a spectacle of them. And, most of all, he conquered death. “For when you were dead in your sins, he made you alive with the risen Christ,” Paul could write.



  1. How has Jesus secured our freedom?
  2. What does the first Good Friday mean for you?


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