My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year. Our wedding was a spectacular lunchtime celebration and continued to nearly 4 PM. After the reception, when we finally had a moment to ourselves, we collapsed upon our bed, completely exhausted from the festivities, and napped for about two hours. We awoke at about 9 PM and decided to order a dinner. As I awaited the delivery of our meals, I remarked to my new bride, “Let’s see what is going on in the world!” I turned the television on and, to my horror, saw the tragic events of the day-a beautiful young woman and her fiance, killed in a car crash.
The date was August 30th, 1997- the date of Princess Diana’s death.
In less than 24 hours, the world turned upside down for us and so many others. At the beginning of the day, the couple were celebrating their engagement. In a flurry of events, the happy couple was now dead. From great pomp to utter tragedy-were they or anyone truly prepared for what happened?
Nearly two thousand years ago, an even greater tragedy occurred in the span of less than 24 hours. When Jesus Christ was arrested by the Jewish authorities, he just observed the Passover with His disciples. The entire city of Jerusalem was celebrating and a mere few days earlier, Jesus had entered the city in great pomp, riding on the back of a donkey, honored with palm fronds by the crowd who rejoiced, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Now, on trial for blasphemy, Jesus is vilified by much of the same crowd who, just days earlier, proclaimed Him the Messiah. They clamored for Him to be crucified and a convicted murderer to be released in His place. In less than 24 hours, a hastily arranged and illegal trial convicted and sentenced Jesus Christ to death. His disciples were confused over what was happening and some even fled from His side. From great pomp to utter tragedy-were they or anyone truly prepared for what happened?
…He said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30 (ESV)
As Jesus hung dying on the Cross, He knew exactly what He was doing. He willingly allowed Himself to be arrested and led to the Cross. He took the sins of all mankind upon His broken and bleeding body: past, present, and future. These sins came upon the only man to live a sinless life and in that moment, He was separated from God for the first time in His life and became the sacrifice for our sins, to reconcile and restore the broken relationship between God and man. He did this for us. Only He could do this and only He understood what was truly happening.
It is finished!
In less than 24 hours, our lives went from a blissful wedding to witnessing a tragic death. In less than 24 hours, the entire fate of mankind was forever changed. Death and sin were defeated! Jesus’ entire life on Earth was prepared for this moment. Are you prepared? Don’t hesitate. Confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He has prepared an eternal home for us in Heaven.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.