Lenten Journey: Day 45 (Good Friday, April 14)

LENTEN JOURNEY:  DAY 45 (GOOD FRIDAY, APRIL 14)

Scripture:  John 19:16-37

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them  and cast lots for my garment.”a] So this is what the soldiers did.25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”c] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”d]

 

On this Good Friday there is a lot of emotion and thought when you stop and realize what happened on this day.  Our journey has been long, as it was with Jesus, and we probably have been through a few ups and downs even along our own Lenten journey.  But to really take in what today represents, we cannot forget about the victory that was won as our Savior rose from the dead just like he said he would.  But at the same time we need to truly realize the love our God has for each of us on what He went through for us on this day. 

God loves each of us so much that the only way for Him to have a relationship with us is to make a way for us to take our sin away.  Since God is a holy God he had to find a way that we could be holy because there is no way that we could be holy and perfect on our own.  It is impossible for us to live in holiness without the help, and Spirit of God living in us. 

And so this takes us to the cross.  Jesus lived the perfect life that we could never live, and then took all our sins on Himself.  God said, “I’ll take the rap.  I’ll take all of your wickedness and evil and I’ll put it on Myself so that when I die on the cross, It’s finished, once and for all.”

The cross is the only place that God will meet with mankind.  The cross is the only place where both God’s mercy and God’s justice could meet.  How can God be a God of love and a God of justice at the same time?  How can holy; perfect God meet with the sinful, rebellious man?  Only at the cross.  He came, He took our punishment and then He declared you and me righteous because of it. 

This is God’s love shown to us, and has shown that he wants a relationship with us.  After centuries of Old Testament animal sacrifices, he paid the penalty and gave us Jesus Christ, who was simultaneously God and human.  Jesus died in our place to pay the price (death) for the sins of all humanity and to give a “not guilty” verdict to those who receive him as Lord of their lives.  His resurrection overcame the power of death to guarantee eternal life to those who are his, while here and now his Spirit brings life to our previously disconnected human spirits.  This is Love.

When we grasp how holy and righteous God is, and then recognize his love, it becomes far more meaningful to us and impacts us more powerfully than it ever could without first grasping the king od God we are dealing with and the mess we are in. 

May each of us be filled with wonder at God’s holiness, righteousness, and love as it hangs on the Cross. 

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”–Romans 5:8

When sharing our faith, we must understand that we participate in both the cross and the grave; our sin was the cause of His death. We cannot get to the resurrection without the death of Jesus, and it’s critical we remember to share that!  Enjoy the journey.