What happened on Good Friday doesn’t seem so good on the surface, but as Will Graham explained Friday evening in a special Easter message, the day Jesus died on the cross is a pivotal moment in history that has the power to change your life forever.
“This is the day that Jesus died on the cross. … This is when Jesus paid for our sin and made things right for us,” Graham said. “Jesus loves you so much, He was willing to die on a cross so that you can go free.”
Nearly 46,000 people from 45 countries watched Will Graham’s Good Friday message, streamed live from the Billy Graham Library near the gravesite of his grandfather Billy Graham and grandmother Ruth Bell Graham in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Missed the livestream of Will Graham’s message? Watch the replay now. You can also watch a Good Friday message in Spanish via Facebook.
Friday’s message also included a musical performance by Aaron Shust. Fittingly, he sang one of his newest worship songs called “Isaiah 53.” The lyrics point to what Christ did on the cross:
“And He was wounded
Because of our sins
The Suffering Servant.
He was wounded
Because of our sins
He never deserved it.
By His bruises we were healed.”
“The [lyrics] are inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament, chapter 53 of his book, that looks to—in remarkable detail—the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, written 700 years before it actually happened,” Shust explained.
Graham preached from Matthew 27, explaining three key things Jesus accomplished on that day:
1. He bore our sins.
Matthew 27, starting at verse 47, recounts Jesus’ final moments on the cross.
“It tells us that God was taking all our sins and placing them on His Son, Jesus,” Graham explained. “Jesus had never lied, but now He became a liar. Jesus had never committed adultery, but now He became an adulterer. Jesus had never murdered, but now He became a murderer.
“[God] took all the stuff that we are and placed it on His Son. … Why? So that we can have righteousness (which means perfection).”
2. He died for our sins.
On the cross, Jesus didn’t just take on our sins—He died for them. The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” Blood must be shed in order for our sins to be forgiven.
This is what happened in Matthew 27:50 when Jesus “yielded up his spirit.”
“In other words, Jesus died. No one else in this world died for your sin, or my sin. Jesus, who knew no sin [and] had never done anything wrong … took all the sin of the world,” Graham said.
“He shed His blood so that you and I can live,” Graham added.
3. He gave us access to God.
Matthew 27:51 described what happened right after Jesus took His last breath: “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth quaked and the rocks split.”
Graham explained the significance of this verse.
“[The temple] had certain places only certain people could go,” Graham said, going on to talk about the innermost room that held the Ark of the Covenant, where God would make His presence known.
“That was such a special place that only the high priest, one time out of the year, was allowed to go in there.”
This room was covered by a veil, or curtain. But Jesus’ death on Good Friday caused that veil to rip.
“He was saying, ‘No longer is man separated from God. Now, man has direct access to God because the sin debt had been paid,'” Graham explained.
“We can now have a personal relationship with God our Creator.”
Which Will You Be?
Graham went on to discuss those who mocked Jesus as He hung on the cross.
In Matthew 27:54, the Bible talks about one Roman soldier who decided at the moment of Christ’s death to believe in Him, saying: “Truly, this was the Son of God!”
“Which one are you going to be? The person who mocks Jesus [or] are you going to think about this a bit more … and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” Graham asked viewers.
“Jesus isn’t dead. That’s what Easter is about,” he continued. “Three days later on Sunday, Jesus came out of the grave to prove to the world what He did on Friday changed everything.”
And because of His sacrifice you can have peace with God.