April 18, 2014 Good Friday Meditation
We wish the story did not have to turn out like this.
We wish there was another way.
There is a question that continually pops up this time of year is, “Why did Jesus have to die, and if he did, why in such a gruesome and violent death?
It is hard to grasp the thought in our minds that the very Son of God had to actually die to appease God, the Heavenly Father.
We say, “Why?”
Why do we call this day, “Good Friday?” For this day ends in a death and brings us into a time filled no hope, no joy, no peace, no light, no love.
That is what a world full of sin and death does to a soul and a world. It destroys hope. It robs us of joy. It eliminates peace. It conquers love, and brings death instead of life.
Who will save us from this death sentence on our life?
We all have to come to the cross…You cannot truly celebrate the Joy and Promise of Easter until you have fully recognized your place at the cross.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53.5).
The scene is different today than that time at Golgotha some 2,000 years ago.
The people have all changed.
But the actions of people are still the same.
There are still those who profess Jesus in name but are nowhere to be found this night fleeing to tasks and activities that keeps them away from having to confront their own sinfulness and lack of relationship with the Lord so they don’t look and gather, but turn and run.
There are those who still mock Jesus today believing the lie that man has all the tools he needs to save himself. “Don’t need you, Lord. I am doing fine, over here, thank you.”
Then there are those believers who watch from a distance but when confronted of their allegiance to Jesus they deny they ever knew him or believed in him or followed him. “I don’t know him.” “ I never followed the man.” “I don’t believe him.”
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one to his own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). A night like this brings out a wide range of human emotions and they are not all good and positive.
Yet in all of this there was the One who was judged and condemned and nailed to a cross and spat and ridiculed and mocked and beaten, but had no words of hate, rebuke, judgment, but words of love and forgiveness and hope.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t’ know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24).
Jesus replied, “I promise you that today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Jesus said, “It is finished, “ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30).
And we hear the words of the criminal to the other criminal as they were to the left and right of Jesus, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-41).
We should be up there between the two criminals. We should be the one’s beaten, mocked, ridiculed, spat upon, judged, and condemned.
“Greater love has no man than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
It is not easy to come to the cross at Calvary and witness such a display of love for us to cover our sin, to cover our iniquities, to cover our human failings.
Yet Easter is empty if you do not understand the significance of this day. And until you do, Easter is just another day filled with no special meaning or purpose for your life or the life of others. We can only call this day “Good” when we understand what is being transpired here on that cross for all of eternity.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Grace and Peace,