The first line a hymn that we may have sung at some time in our life, says “There is a green hill far away”.
Its opening line may not be totally accurate, as it is likely that Calvary was akin to a rubbish dump and was conveniently used as a place of execution. Because of that it would have been outside the wall of the city of Jerusalem, away from homes – as are our rubbish dumps and landfill sites. The rest of the hymn highlights many truths of the Easter account. In a clear and understandable way, it tells us of some of the amazing things that happened that first Easter weekend.
It shows us that the events which happened there that Good Friday were not a mistake or a cruel twist in a good man’s life, but were something amazing as the Son of God deliberately and willingly went to the cross of Calvary and died in such a gruesome way. Historians writing about crucifixion describe it as a most agonising and painful way to die. While we can be awed by the physical sufferings of Jesus, we are not to leave it at that. We sing that “it was for us he hung and suffered there”. This is what the Bible teaches us as He was our substitute and would die in our place to take the punishment all our wrong words, thoughts, desires and actions deserved. He swapped with us so that “we might be forgiven, He died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by His precious blood.”
The Bible shows us that Jesus is the perfect son of God, who took to Himself a real body like ours (the event we celebrate at Christmas) and He lived a perfect life. He was the perfect One who willingly laid down his life to pay the price of all our wrong before God, which the Bible calls “sin”. He was the only one who “could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in”. Because of that we must “trust in his redeeming blood” – we must come to believe in Him as our own Saviour and then live in a way that pleases Him – “try His works to do”.
Although this lovely hymn ends at that point, the Bible account doesn’t and the seeming disaster of Good Friday is declared to be a victory on Easter Sunday morning, as this same one rises from the dead forever and is declared by His resurrection to be the Victor over death and the one whose death has opened the way to God for all who trust in Him.
This Easter we will again declare that ‘Good News’ (we do all the time, but especially at Easter). We invite everyone to come and join with us this Easter Sunday as we will rejoice at the ‘Good News’ of the risen Saviour.