Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

The Kentucky General Assembly has occupied my time and attention in recent months, and as another weary season of legislation and policymaking is coming to a close, my soul is getting ready for Easter. I’m grateful that many good bills engaged by CPC are moving into law (many deal with the reality of sin and a broken world), but I am more deeply moved by ultimate things and more permanent realities brought by Jesus, the King of Kings.

Today is Good Friday, the high holy day on the Christian calendar where we remember mankind’s greatest evil leveled at God’s sinless and perfect Son. Personally, it’s a time of sober reflection on the cost of my sin and the price Jesus paid for me. The only righteous one who ever walked the earth became a sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was both good and terrible. God accomplished incredible good and the restoration of mankind through terrible evil. But evil didn’t have the last word.

Good Friday is a time to reflect on history and the greatest need of the human soul. In the historical context, less than one week prior to Pilate’s death sentence, the crowds of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus into their city, waving palm branches and throwing down their cloaks to keep the dust down. Christians celebrated this five days ago as Palm Sunday. The Jewish people welcomed their prophesied deliverer to save them from their oppressors.

Except they missed the nature of their deliverance. But don’t we do the same?

The ancient Jewish people couldn’t stand the Romans and their way of life. They hated their polytheism and their immorality. They hated that the Gentiles, an inferior people in their eyes, ruled and occupied their land, and they wanted to put an end to it. They wanted an army raised, fitted with implements of war, and led by a mighty king to drive out the occupiers.  Yet, Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, not a war horse. Jesus came on a mission tempered by humility to fix our deepest needs, something no military conquest could ever achieve.

As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem he wept over it, because they missed the purpose of his coming and the nature of his kingship. “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42). Jesus came to transform the hard and hurting hearts of his people. They didn’t need a warrior-king to drive the Roman legions out as much as they needed the Redeemer of mankind to drive out the sin that dwelt within their own hearts.

Jesus came to deliver us from our tyrannical hearts. He came to free us, not primarily from some political enemy but rather from the bonds of sin that prevent proper relationship from God and our fellow man. And he calls everyone to repent of their sins and accept his lordship.  Jesus is both patient and merciful. Even while on the cross, Jesus had incomprehensible mercy. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” he said to his executioners.  How could a mere mortal utter such words while in the midst of such injustice and suffering? Then again, how could a mere mortal rise from the grave?

On Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It’s the most important reality in all of human history. The forgiveness of sin, defanging of death, and victory over the grave—all accomplished through the cross of Christ and His resurrection. And that’s the greatest news the world needs today.