Do You Have Questions About Easter? (ESV)
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- Version: ESV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the ESV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
1. Why is Good Friday good?
The reason “Good Friday” is good isn’t simply because we have a day off work or school or eat candy! Rather, it is because we remember Jesus’ death on the cross which happened two thousand years ago. However, we must be clear: what happened to Jesus was wicked, unfair, and plain not good. He was betrayed by his friends, falsely accused, mocked and tortured, and killed on the cross.
Crucifixion was left for the worst of the worst offenders. It was humiliating, slow, painful, and understood as being under God’s curse (Deuteronomy 21:23).
We all get angry at the wrong things that we see throughout the world: poverty, abuse, cruelty, starvation. It is right to feel angry about what happened to Jesus, which was unjust: Jesus was innocent and didn’t deserve to die (Luke 23:41). More than that, Jesus is the Son of God, the author of life, and so should have been treated with the respect he deserved (Mark 12:6-8). However, instead of worshipping him, he was killed.
If what happened on Good Friday isn’t good at all, then why is it called Good Friday? Well, it’s because of what Jesus accomplished by his death on the cross: We can now be friends with God!
1 Peter 3:18 says: “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”
It’s called Good Friday because it’s good for us.
2. Why didn’t Jesus avoid being crucified?
I know if I was the Son of God, I would zap the soldiers and get out of there! Right from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he knew that it would lead to his death (Mark 2:20, 8:31, 9:12, 10:33-34)—but, he decided to walk to his death in Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). Rather than encouraging his disciples to defend him from being captured, he told them to do nothing, and went with his accusers (John 18:11). If his disciples weren’t enough, he could have called on twelve armies of angels to rescue him (Matthew 26:53)! But, instead, he did nothing. Even when he was left to die on the cross, he was still in control of the situation (John 10:18).
If this is the case, then why didn’t Jesus avoid being crucified? It’s because Jesus loves us!
John 15:13 says: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to put his actions where his mouth was. Instead of avoiding the cross, he willingly died on it. But, the question remains: “Why was this necessary?”
3. Why did Jesus die?
Have you ever hit someone, like your brother or sister? Or said something mean like, “No one likes you!” Or thought something like, “I wish that person was never born!”
These are examples of sin. Sin stops us from being friends with God, and needs to be fixed.
Jesus, on his way to the cross, asked God if there was any other way we could be friends with him (Matthew 26:39,42). But there was not—the cross is the place where Jesus fixed the problem of sin by taking the punishment on himself.
This happened when Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished.” It is at that point that he had suffered separation from God, and received the punishment we deserve (Mark 15:34; John 19:30). Jesus, who was sinless, died so that we can be friends with God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We are friends with God because Jesus took our punishment.
4. Did Jesus really die?
Sometimes when I’m playing with my brothers, I’ll pretend to be dead. They jump on me and then leave me alone. You might do the same thing. Did Jesus really die or did he just pretend to be dead?
The Roman soldiers knew how to kill their criminals. Their lives were on the line if they didn’t do their job properly. After Jesus’ death on the cross, Pilate had the people on the crosses checked to see if they were dead.
Check out what John 19:33-34 says: “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
John says that from the hole in Jesus’ side, blood and water flowed out. When a person dies, the blood and water separate, and so when John says this we know that Jesus was definitely dead.
5. Did Jesus really come back alive?
The first people at Jesus’ tomb were women. Back in Jesus’ day a court of law wouldn’t trust what a woman would say. If you were making up a story of Jesus coming back to life, you wouldn’t have women being the first people to go to the tomb (Mark 16:1-8).
Some people say that the disciples stole Jesus’ body to make it look like he came back to life. The disciples couldn’t steal the body because there were soldiers guarding the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). Later, many of the disciples died for what they believed. No one would die for a lie.
Jesus also appeared to over 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6), and he appeared to these people over a period of forty days, giving them proof that he was alive (Acts 1:3).
Jesus coming back to life is really important. Anyone can die and stay dead. Jesus coming back to life proves that he has died to take away your sin. Jesus has beaten death. It shows he is Christ the Lord, the Son of God (Acts 2:36). We have confidence that we will be raised when Jesus returns.
1 Corinthians 15:20 says: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus was raised and went to heaven, and so will everyone who trusts in him.
What about you? Have you trusted in Jesus who died for you and rose again? Celebrate this Easter season with Jesus as your Savior by putting your trust in him today!