Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are known collectively as the gospels. These first four books of the New Testament tell of Jesus’ life: his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. However, the first mention of Jesus can be found in the twenty-sixth verse of the Bible.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.’" (Genesis 1:26)
The plural pronoun “us” is our first evidence of the Trinity. Then, after God learns of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, we read of the first prophecy of Jesus and the crucifixion.
“Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’” (Genesis 3:14-15)
The He is Jesus; the serpent represents Satan; the striking of the offspring’s heel is the crucifixion; the crushing of the serpent’s head is Jesus’ resurrection. God then establishes the rule, which will follow for all time, that blood needs to be shed to cover sin.
“And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.” (Genesis 3:21)
The first act of God after sin enters the world is to sacrifice an animal and make clothing from it to cover Adam and Eve’s shame. This would continue until the Good Friday that we celebrate and remember today when Jesus would make the final sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. The entire Bible is the story of God’s love for us and His perfect plan to reconcile us to Himself through the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is our perfect lamb, the perfect sacrifice.
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)
“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
As we remember this Good Friday when Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins, once and for all, know that God had this planned from the beginning because nothing can separate us from His love.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38)
Because of Good Friday we no longer have to sacrifice animals to pay for our sin. We no longer have to go through a high priest to talk to the Lord. Jesus is our High Priest.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
This is why when Jesus died the curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two.
“At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart…” (Matthew 27:51)
With Jesus’ death, and even more so with His resurrection, everything changed. The cross, a symbol of oppression, brutality, suffering, and death became a symbol of hope, forgiveness, and life everlasting. Why? Because Jesus didn’t stay dead. “Crucifixion was often performed to terrorize and dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating particularly heinous crimes.” The crime for which Jesus was crucified was blasphemy.
“Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, ‘Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?’ But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’”
Jesus said, ‘I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, ‘Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?’”
‘Guilty!’ they all cried. ‘He deserves to die!’”
Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. ‘Prophesy to us,’ they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.” (Mark 14:60-65)
So if crucifixion was often performed to dissuade the witnesses from perpetrating similar crimes, and the crime of which Jesus was accused was claiming to be equal with God, then why would His followers continue, to this very day, to further Jesus' claim of equality with God? Because Jesus didn’t stay dead, so everything changed. Those first believers found out that Jesus was exactly who He had been saying He was. And many have died for pronouncing their faith, that Jesus is the Son of God.
God had this planned from the beginning. Nothing we do will ever change His plans or His love for us. Jesus died on the cross and rose to life on the third day and everything changed.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
 Fred Larraga, A Perfect Relationship: Learning about God in You and God in Me