Holy Friday. The Price of Freedom from Sin

Today is Great and Holy Friday – the climax of the tragic events of the week.  The remembrance of the judgement, the crucifixion, and the burial of Christ.  God became Man because of what takes place today, so that He can be killed.  It is not possible to kill God, but since He became Man, He can accept death.  All attention is on the Sacrifice of Christ.  God-Man dies on the cross instead of the whole human race, and His death saves us from death.

Archpriest Pavel Velikanov

Archpriest Pavel Velikanov

The idea of sacrifice by stand-in has existed in almost all religious cults since ancient times.  Sacrifice, which necessarily required the shedding of blood, is supposed to overcome the abyss between the sinful man and the holy God.  Thus, the sacrificial animal became a kind of ransom, or substitute.  Before stabbing it, a man would lay his hands on the animal as though saying, “This is me!  I deserve to die for my sins, I admit.  I cannot come near You.  But, oh Lord, instead of my own blood I bring You the blood of this lamb and beg Your forgiveness.”

Pagan nations believed that the greatest sacrifice that could help resolve the most difficult problem was the sacrifice of the king’s only heir.  The Old Testament decisively rejected all those horrible human sacrifices.  But today God Himself offers His Only-Begotten Son as a sacrifice for the salvation of the human race.

It is extremely difficult for us to understand why it was impossible to forgive and cure Adam’s offence in a different way. But sin really is very serious.  The price of sin is death.  It is like an avalanche caused by a carelessly thrown stone.  But God took this avalanche upon Himself to protect man from it.  He did not want to simply cancel this avalanche, voiding the chain of cause-and-effect.  For even Christ did nothing purposefully to ascend upon the Cross.  The world imbued with sin pushed Him out as a foreign substance, as water pushes out a ball filled with air.  In this fallen world, true, genuine goodness can lead nowhere except the Golgotha.  However, from now on, every single person who ascends the Golgotha sees they are no longer alone.  Christ ascended it first and assumed everything that was hardest and most terrible upon Himself.

Today, on the Cross, God destroys sin in a manner that is a completely different from how we usually try to counter evil.  He does not fight back, He receives it inwardly, and evil falls apart and ceases to exist.  Everything that a person stumbles across every day – the fear of death, the fear of suffering – ceases to be an unsolvable problem in Christ.

From now on, Christ is our Leader, and from behind His back we need no longer fear the devil, no matter what dirty tricks he uses to confound us, no matter what apparent power he uses to try and force us to accept the totality of his power.  From now on, we hold in our hands the flag of salvation, the Cross of Christ.  Not a magical sign, but the image of our God, the testimony of His love for us.  How important it is to constantly keep in mind the price that was paid for our freedom from sin!

Translated from the Russian by Maria Nekipelov

Since you are here…

…we do have a small request. More and more people visit Orthodoxy and the World website. However, resources for editorial are scarce. In comparison to some mass media, we do not make paid subscription. It is our deepest belief that preaching Christ for money is wrong.

Having said that, Pravmir provides daily articles from an autonomous news service, weekly wall newspaper for churches, lectorium, photos, videos, hosting and servers. Editors and translators work together towards one goal: to make our four websites possible - Pravmir.ru, Neinvalid.ru, Matrony.ru and Pravmir.com. Therefore our request for help is understandable.

For example, 5 euros a month is it a lot or little? A cup of coffee? It is not that much for a family budget, but it is a significant amount for Pravmir.

If everyone reading Pravmir could donate 5 euros a month, they would contribute greatly to our ability to spread the word of Christ, Orthodoxy, life's purpose, family and society.

Related articles
The Tomb of the Lord (Great…

On Holy Saturday the Church directs and concentrates our attention on our Lord’s tomb. In the…

Great and Holy Wednesday. God Is…

Holy Wednesday is a unique day.  Today we bethink ourselves of the sinful woman who washed…

Let Us Mentally Enter the Congregation…

The Church has linked the time between Nativity and Pascha into one consequential passage.  During this…

Dear Friends,

Our website exists owing to your generous assistance, thanks to the funds donated by our beloved readers.

Please assist us in the continuation of our work.