Without Good Friday

John 19:17-19: 

17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:

JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

When I was a boy, I hated Good Friday and I thought that was wrong for me to hate it and wrong in general. One year when I was 12 or 13 I finally asked my mother why we had to got to church and talk about death. Not only talk about it but read about it and listen to it. You see, one of our pastors had a flair for the dramatic. At the end of Good Friday service, he would read from the bible John 19:30:

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Then, over the PA system the sound of a heavy hammer striking a nail would be played. After three nail strikes there was a phrase, “Three nails three days,” and we would exit in darkness. I hated it! It made me angry and made me want to cry at the same time. So, I asked why. My mother’s answer was simple yet complex and I have never forgotten it. She said, “Without Good Friday there is no Easter.”

Good Friday should elicit emotion. it did on the day it happened. the emotions ran the spectrum from hatred, loathing, and bitterness to satisfaction, overwhelming sadness, and fear. In the center of this fire storm of emotions is Jesus; as it was then it is today. Jesus stirs the pot of human existence by asking the question, by addressing the elephant in the room: what are you going to do about Him?

Jesus was beaten beyond any recognizable form. the beating alone should have killed Him. Isaiah 52:14:

14 Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;

it did not only because Jesus had a plan. A plan ordained by the Father. he told the disciples of this plan many times; most poignantly  in the garden when He was arrested. John 18:11:

So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

Jesus not only held Peter at bay but He also healed the man whose ear Peter had cut off. Jesus healed the man’s ear and then allowed Himself to be taken away and destroyed! In his book, He Chose the Nails, pastor Max Lucado reminds us that man did not put Jesus on the cross, Jesus did. He submitted Himself to the punishments of darkness , of separation from the Father so that we would no longer be separated from Him. Mark 15:34:

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

I believe this was the moment when the sin, evil, and imperfection of the entire world was poured out on the sinless lamb of God and Jesus was separated from His father in Heaven for the first and only time. How painful that must have been! In that terrible pain, Jesus cried out.

in that moment, Jesus made Himself a bridge once and for all between sinful humanity and the perfect sovereign God who loves us. Without the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday, there can be no Easter. My mother was right.

What are you going to do about Him? What do you make of Jesus? there is no work for us to do; it has been done. three nails, three days!

Isaiah 53:9:

And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Grace & Peace,

LD

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