Good Friday: The Crux of the Matter

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Exactly why do we call it GOOD Friday? It’s because as horrific as it was; in light of the truth of the Hy Bible it was/is/and forever will be good when coupled with Easter! That’s also why we call the Gospel, the Good News.

It is no wonder why I delight in the Word of God and celebrating the Lenten season so much: THIS …. JESUS …is what it’s ALL about!!

Look at all that happened as Jesus ministry on Earth was coming to a close, with teachings, parables and miracles. The mobs of self-seeking people; crowds, anger and betrayal.

Look at ALL the fulfillment of scriptural prophecy (only a small part of it can I list here):
•There was The Arrival of the Messiah on a donkey colt (Palm Sunday);
•the Passover being celebrated with THE Lamb Himself in a new way at the First Communion (Maundy Thursday), Jesus demonstrating servant leadership and giving the New Commandment;
•the Garden of Gethsemane (the Winepress) on the Mount of Olives where our Lord was hard pressed as He prayed in anguish to His Father while His dearest friends slept & the betrayer delivered a kiss along with His captors;
•the denial of Peter and fleeing of the disciples; the mock trial and real ‘Silence of the Lamb’ as they brought false accusations, injustices and forced physical defilement, spitting, beatings and torturous scourging
•A weakening Jesus trudged up The Via Dolorosa (Latin,”Way of Grief”, “Way of Sorrows”, “Way of Suffering” or simply “Painful Way”) the road to Calvary a.k.a. Golgotha (“the Skull”), at one point collapsing under the weight of the cross he bore;
[ASIDE: I enjoy the mention of the comfort given to Jesus by Simon of Cyrene (carried the cross part of the way) and Lydia (who wiped His face with her scarf) ]
• finally, Jesus was nailed to the cross and lifted up naked, in the middle of the criminals also crucified;
•the punishment for All sin of those who would be redeemed for all time!

The CROSS — that is the crux of the matter. Really, not so much the wooden symbol of crucifixion; rather the One who willingly died there for us —the Messiah…Jesus Christ: Savior, Redeemer, Lord!

That is where we were redeemed (bought with a price) and received our salvation (saved from God’s wrath for our sins) and were granted God’s forgiveness through His righteousness (Jesus lived without sin so He was exchanging His right standing with God for our sins). That all happened on the Cross.

His death was unlike any other in all of history! Every detail was fulfilled exactly as God had foretold. His body bore the “stripes” and “wounds”. He was counted among the transgressors. In all that torture, not one bone was broken. He died before the need of Romans to break his legs to hasten the dying.

IRONIES
There are a few ironic items I must acknowledge.

Even as Jesus was being so mistreated; actually WHILE He was dying on the cross, He demonstrated His top priority was the care of others!

He had provided for future care of His dear disciples at the Last Supper. He reattached the ear of the soldier (an enemy) that Peter had severed in the garden.
He assured the proper care of His mother Mary who was at the foot of the cross with “John, this is your mother. And to her He said “this is your son.”

The very work Jesus was doing was the ultimate care of others— many, many others. This was not just a passing “I hope it goes well with you,” or as we might say “have a nice day”. This wasn’t just a toss of some spare change into a beggars hand. This wasn’t even simply physically tangible “help”. Jesus provided self-sacrificing– for God’s glory and your good– true SOUL care.

With His Words “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do,” He was the executing supernaturally self-sacrificing act of forgiveness…even to those who caused His pain. Such a deep, all-consuming pain! Not just physical or emotional pain, but soul wrenching anguish. At the moment when Holy God turned His face away from Jesus who cried out “Father why have you forsaken me?” we cannot really grasp that, can we?

Amidst all the horrid smells the beaten bodies and soldiers were putting out; blood, sweat, excrement and urine, it is not lost on me that Jesus likely was still smelling of the large amount of perfumed ointment the women applied to His feet with her tears and hair earlier in the week. I hope that smell rose to His nostrils as He endured the torture on the cross. Perhaps it in some small way reminded Him that there were still those who loved Him present even during this terrible time.

The phrase “a fragrant offering being offered up to God” comes to my mind as I reflect on what was happening here on the cross and compare it with God’s Old Testament declarations to His Chosen People of Israel about what was an “acceptable sacrifice”.

Just before He died Jesus asked God to forgive us and then declared “it is finished”. Then He died.

BUT GOD!!! Stay tuned for the next post–

In the meantime please sacrifice a moment of your time to give your thoughts (and if you see mistakes; corrections) on this post.


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