That Pivotal Moment in Time (with #GoodFriday poem)

 

Torn Veil
Temple veil was torn from top to bottom at the very moment Jesus Christ died.

This Holy Week has afforded us with yet another chance to ponder just how remarkably profound these events truly were in the scope of all history and indeed eternity.

Think about the state of affairs of the apostles who had just witnessed the horrible beating, public humiliation and torturous crucifixion of there leader, teacher and friend. I wonder, can you imagine how it must have been?

While sharing in the solemnity and intimacy of celebrating Passover only nights before the disciples were stunned enough by having their esteemed leader strip himself of deserved dignity and stature to wash their feet. During the seder the elements that for centuries had always represented the lamb’s body and blood,  sacrificed and applied as necessary method of deliverance from death, were given NEW meaning. Jesus made a point of stressing that these elements now applied to Him. Jesus told them repeatedly that the Son of Man must suffer and would be going where they could not. But He continued to encourage them with [“I go to prepare a place for you. I will then call you to Myself. Until I return… Do this in remembrance of Me.”] His time was near.

What agony Jesus endured during the night in the garden of Gethsemane as He prayed to His Father God, can there be any other way? What utter loneliness must Jesus have felt as His very best friends and followers couldn’t even stay awake with Him at this dark time in His spirit.  Jesus was even at that time being betrayed by Judas Iscariot who literally “sold out” His mentor to the enemies for 33 pieces of silver. Jesus knew that. More prophecies being fulfilled. More yet to be met. He was in the waiting room of the torture quickly approaching. His time was still nearer.

The assembly of soldiers sent by the officials defended upon the garden, waking the sleeping friends and causing quite a stir. As a sign to the captors Judas kissed the Lord. “You betray Me with a Kiss?” More of the foretold prophesies received their tic. Peter slashed his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Yet it was the captive Jesus who performed the miracle and miraculously reattached the ear while warning his disciple against fury and violence.

“Who do you seek?” WHAT a PROFOUND question… even today!  The words of Jesus inquired. The soldier responded “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?”  What happened next?  Jesus responded with “I AM”… those incredible words… the name of the ONE true God… the men fell on their faces in an instant!! Even though they didn’t worship any Jewish God these men couldn’t help fall prostrate before the Almighty. How shocking is that? Still Jesus went as their captive to be brought to a secret night time trial before the Sanhedrin who had already prepared their false witnesses. As He was seized the disciples realized that as Jesus followers they were likely also in danger. They fled. Jesus went still closer to the appointed time.

The mock trial was an agenda driven display of men who claimed to be righteous actually practicing all kinds of unrighteousness on the ONE who really was without sin. The irony. Just as the prophets had revealed the Messiah stood silent before His accusers. Then the next morning brought before Pontus Pilot so that the Religious Persecutors could convince the Roman official to get the government to do the dirty work of actually killing Jesus.  Next more prophesied events took place; He was severely scourged, mocked, cursed and spit upon, and received beatings such that Jesus scarcely resembled a man but more a hunk of bleeding stripped apart flesh. “by His stripes we are healed”… Isaiah’s revealed Words of God were happening. Oh dear God, were they ever!

And in the wings was Peter… close enough to see, but careful not to be seen or taken into custody himself. Just as Jesus had said, Peter denied he even knew Jesus not one, or twice but even with curses on the third time. A rooster crowed. Peter wept. This was the day Good Friday! Jesus appointed work was underway.

Pilot publicly announced he found no fault in Jesus and attempted to get him released during a release event in which public could choose one prisoner to be set free. But no… “Barrabus the murderer” was the one they chose. As for Jesus the crowd was incited and yelled “Crucify Him”!  Pilot after brief discourse with Jesus about truth and Lordship delivered Jesus to the executioners with instructions to place a sign “King of the Jews” at the head of Jesus cross. When someone tried to amend it with “do you mean that ‘he SAYS he is the King of the Jews”?  Pilot answered “no, I have stated it correctly”. The mockers placed a crown of thorns upon Jesus head and a woven robe to parade Him and add humiliation.

It was added torture Jesus carrying the beam of the cross that would be the instrument of His death through the Via de la Rosa. Large crowds of people who came this day to celebrate Passover were everywhere. Many actually saw Him… the Lamb who was being sacrificed for the sins of all. Jesus was getting even closer step by agonizing step.

Along the route Jesus fell and Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service to help carry the weight of the cross that Jesus human body simply couldn’t do anymore. A woman along the way used her scarf to wipe Jesus face. It is a relief to know there were still some kind hearted people not afraid to minister to Jesus as he approached certain death.

Golgotha — the place of the skull — just outside the wall of Jerusalem that only a week earlier this soon to be executed Jesus had rode into the city filled with throngs of people calling “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”  O’ what a difference a week makes. There are a few more messianic prophecies being fulfilled in this Holy week!

Here we go… the CROSS!  THIS is IT!  The very purpose for which it was necessary that Jesus come to earth and live as a man. To offer Himself as the Perfect Lamb without blemish or spot — sinless — as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Jesus was the ONLY possible sacrifice that could suffice for eternity, because He is eternal. His particular sacrifice is the gift that KEEPS ON GIVING!  Only Eternal God could apply restitution to justice for all past, present and future sins. Only GOD could do that. Only MAN could die… Jesus humanity was a necessary stage of His existence for the sake of the redemption of sinful mankind. Jesus was all-inclusive in His offer.

Huge nails drove through his writs and ankles and Jesus was lifted up on the cross for all to see. Placed between two criminals who were also being crucified. One which was mocking Jesus, the other who recognized Jesus’ goodness and asked for Jesus’ consideration. “this day you will be with me in Paradise” said Jesus. Even a criminal status/reputation  can come out victorious if one has a repentant heart and one can face,  address, repent and receive forgiveness from the Lord.  Hanging on the cross, amidst criminals — more anticipated prophesy realized.

Even while suffering and struggling to breath Jesus focused on the needs of a caretaker for his mother. And asked aloud for God to forgive those who were killing Him. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Almost done now.

The sky grew dark. The Sun was up in the sky, it was high noon after all… it just wasn’t “ON”. No, not cloud cover, fog or haze . . .the sun just didn’t put forth it’s light. The miracles of God over nature would surely bring attention to the fact that this was no ordinary crucifixion event, wouldn’t you think?

The darkness of sin’s full weight fell upon Him. . . the Lamb of God . . .Jesus Christ came to deliver and that is what He was doing. All the punishment for sins was accepted by the one who could actually save people by restoring mankind to right relationship with His Father. Holy God requires perfect justice for the sins of man. The LAMB who was Slain was breathing His last. “Unto you do I commit my soul” Jesus said . . . then “IT IS FINISHED” !!!

THERE IT IS >>> THAT KEY MOMENT IN ALL OF HISTORY — the moment when the Perfect Lamb of God, Immanuel–God with Us, who had sacrificed His solely divine status to be born of a virgin and live in the flesh and now… NOW the time had come … he was dying so that others could live. Indeed it was finished!

50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;… –Matthew 27:50-52

At that moment the ground quaked and the huge curtain in the Temple was torn… from Top to Bottom and the wall that separated the place of God’s presence was no longer barricaded or only accessible by a select few… Jesus had made a way where there used to be no way.  No priests or animal sacrifices would ever be needed to pay for the atonement of sins that Jesus had just made once and for all.

This year’s Good Friday Poem I wrote is called:

That Pivotal Moment in Time.

At that pivotal moment in time, ugliness of sin with bloodied flesh on the cross was displayed.

it’s long-standing curse, punishment and death upon Jesus had all been laid.

The transaction completed. Divine judgment meted.

Separation with God then tore for Jesus’ loving redemption, a new way made.

THAT PIVOTAL MOMENT IN TIME Had  arrived …. Jesus paid it all!

 

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.

Reflecting on Good Friday

JesusCrossDaubDark copyHello Friends! Today is a special day out of the yearly calendar . . . Good Friday. It is a time when I take the entire day to intentionally contemplate the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on behalf of all mankind who choose to accept the precious gift of God’s grace. We can never earn our way to a Holy, perfect God. Yet, God Himself arranged for the price of sin to be paid so that we (any who choose to) may exchange the punishment that we deserve for God’s grace that we do not.  To anyone who has been hesitant in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior… I have but one question… why?

What person who has thrown an expensive party and then had the party coordinator come to them with hundreds or thousands of dollar’s worth of bills come to him before the entire party and torn those expense statements all up with the announcement “I am not charging you a single penny!”…which person would then reach for his wallet or checkbook and not graciously accept the gift?!

You see, that’s what God did for us. He took the debts we owe and cancelled them. We deserved God’s wrath, but instead God provided the perfect payment… His spotless sacrificial Lamb (Jesus Christ). The sinless took on all the sin for all time! Because Jesus paid it all, we are allowed to be called “children of God”. The price has been paid. . . so put your wallet of “good deeds” away! Accept God’s grace and pay it forward in how you treat others. As God has forgiven, how can we not forgive? As God has given, how can we not receive?

Salvation can be yours and there is no better time than RIGHT NOW! Yes it is Friday and a terrible price was paid, but . . .Sunday is coming and there is a glorious future coming!

Here is the link to the Good Friday Poem that I wrote. http://ellen5e.com/p/good-friday-poem/

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS… please 🙂