Friday, April 6, 2012

Grieving the Goodness of Good Friday


“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.  And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.  When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.  And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

…Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots…Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.  And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

…And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.   
Matthew 27: 27-50

I just want to let the scripture today talk for itself.  We call this day Good Friday and the reason we do this is because of the hope it holds for each of us in the finished work of Jesus our Christ on the cross.  We have the foreknowledge of things yet to come - a knowledge those who were present that day did not have – that of the resurrection on Sunday, and therefore we call today good.  But before the celebration we will all have on Sunday, today is a time to grieve – a time to grieve what Jesus had to endure for the sake of our sins and the sinfulness of all mankind.  Today as you read through the words I have put in bold, the physical, mental and spiritual suffering Jesus endured on the cross, take time to internalize what these things really meant for Jesus, God the Father, and for the world. 

It is often times easy to just read through passages you have heard many times before, but I challenge you today to meditate and pray as you approach each bolded set of words. 

For myself this morning as I read through these passages I was filled with a great sorrow.  Jesus is my closest friend who has always been there for me and who has always loved me even though I never deserved His love.  I know without a doubt that I deserve the punishment He received – to be put to shame by others, to be ridiculed for the words I have spoken that were not truth, and to be separated from God.  But instead Good Friday is a reminder that Jesus loves me, and all who are willing to call upon His name and put their trust in Him, and He took my place that day so that I could fellowship with Him for the rest of eternity.

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