Hello Members and Friends of Son Light
Did you ever wonder why we call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins. (Source: Christianity.com)
Today is a solemn day as we remember with thankful hearts the great sacrifice that Jesus made by taking upon Himself the sins of the world (including yours and mine) and giving His life to pay our rightful penalty. Even in His great distress He spoke, according to the scriptures, seven times from the cross.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) How could He possibly ask forgiveness for the ones who are unjustly putting Him to death? Only because of His great love for us and through the strength and power of His Heavenly Father. Could there ever be greater irony? Jesus asks his Father to forgive, but it is by His very Sacrifice on the Cross that mankind is able to be forgiven! May we not only seek forgiveness when we have wronged someone but be willing to forgive through the power of Christ.
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This time Jesus doesn’t ask His Father to forgive but offers forgiveness to one of the criminals being crucified beside Him. In this statement Jesus not only displays His divinity but offers us assured hope that we will be forgiven if we ask in His name and offer our lives to Him as our Lord and Savior. We, too, will then one day be with Him in Paradise.
"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son." Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother." (John 19:26-27) Even in the midst of dying Jesus is concerned for His family. He makes sure that His mother is cared for. During this time of isolation, and at all times, let us make sure that our “family” of brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our relatives are cared for and their needs are met.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) There can not be a more dreadful moment in the history of man as this moment. Jesus who came to save us is crucified, and He realizes the horror of what is happening and what He now is enduring. He is about to be engulfed in the raging sea of sin. Evil triumphs, as Jesus admits: "But this is your hour" (Luke 22:53). But it is only for a moment. The burden of all the sins of humanity for a moment overwhelm the humanity of our Savior.
But does this not have to happen? It is in defeat of his humanity that the Divine plan of His Father will be completed. It is by His death that we are redeemed. "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all" (I Timothy 2:5-6).
“I thirst.”(John 19:28) The fifth word of Jesus is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, losing blood on the walk through the city of Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll.
Jesus also thirsts in a spiritual sense. He thirsts for love. He thirsts for the love of his Father, who has left him unaided during this dreadful hour when He must fulfill his mission all alone. And he thirsts for the love and salvation of his people, the human race. Jesus practiced what he preached: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, That he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:12-13
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished;" and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit. (John 19:30) What is finished? God’s wrath towards our sins is finished. The penalty has been paid, the Lamb has been slaughtered and the debt satisfied. Because of the blood of Christ everyone now can be reconciled with God if they confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Christ. Our wages of sin are now paid and the free gift of God, eternal life, is now available.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46) Jesus was obedient to His Father to the end, and his final word before his death on the Cross was a prayer to His Father. Jesus tells us in John 16:28, "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father." Jesus fulfills His own mission and that of His Father on the Cross.
His prayer should also be our prayer. "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Each day let’s renew our commitment to allow God’s Spirit to fill our lives, that our thoughts, deeds and words will bring Him honor and glory. Jesus took our place on that cross. Those sins were not His own but ours. God’s wrath was not caused by Jesus but by us. Yet Jesus stepped in and bore it all. Why? "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whosoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).
Thank Him for His sacrifice and allow Him to be your Lord. Not just on Good Friday, but every day.
Michael Nolt, Pastor