A Galatians Meditation for Good Friday

At the very beginning of his letter to the Galatians, as he does in all his letters, Paul greets those to whom he writes. As he is prone to do, though, Paul expands upon the normal greeting form to convey deep theological truth pertinent to his purposes and the situation of his recipients. What strikes me about this greeting is the centrality of Jesus' death and resurrection. Here is what Paul writes:

From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.

In discussing his apostleship Paul links it to the risen Christ, brought back to life by the Father's power. In the greeting proper Paul describes Jesus as willingly giving himself in death as a sacrifice for sin. This sacrifice was a divine rescue operation which saved us from sin's power, which is manifested in this present evil age. All this was done because the Father desired it to be so, and as such he is worthy of our praise. In short, Paul points to Jesus' death and resurrection as the solution for the problems which face the Galatians, both in terms of their theology and their behavior. In this letter, one of the earliest NT documents written, Paul begins right out of the gate with the central truth of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

On this Good Friday, our thoughts should be centered upon Jesus' willing death on the cross as a sacrifice to atone for our sin in accordance with God's will. As with the Galatians, so it is with us: That central event of history is the solution to whatever problem we may be facing, whether of theology or behavior. Let us think deeply upon the Lord's death and rejoice greatly this Easter Sunday as we celebrate his resurrection.