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We loathe hurtful people. We have a particular distaste remembering when hurtful people turn their hate on us. What normal humans relish in being reviled?
Maybe for you it was during a family gathering and the whispering started when you walked into the house. Small groups of people stopped their conversation. Some stared at you with that smile of mockery.
Or perhaps it was at the office. Across the way near the water cooler three co-workers were whispering as they stole a glance or two in your direction. When you stared back they acted as if nothing was happening.
Worse yet, possibly it was at church when you were tortured with piercing words. They made you the victim of their gossip. To top it off they had the audacity to consider themselves and their fellow slanders the righteous ones.
Anyone who has led or anyone who has tried to accomplish anything knows what it is like to have a chunk of their heart torn out by those who practice hate.
What if that pain in your past could be removed as if it never happened? If a wave of a hand could make it all disappear, scars and all? Jesus did that for us when He died on the cross.
We needed miracle in our lives. The pain was so excruciating that we sinned in response. We traded insult for insult.
Now, tired and weary of the pain we looked for redemption. Jesus gives it to us through His sacrifice on the cross. The guilt and pain are placed on Jesus.
He takes it all and pays the price to get rid of it all forever. Do you feel the relief? But, there is more!
He not only made our hurt from others disappear it was so powerful He took away the act of the gossips go away too. All of the world’s sins were taken on by Jesus on to Himself as He died on the cross for them all. That is a good sacrifice. That is why the Friday commemorating Jesus’ death is called Good.
While the Savior hung on the cross, people mocked him. They spit on him. They threw things at him. He felt the hate for us.
He was beaten with angry hands. A whip tore his flesh. Worst of all the Father abandoned him because that was the price of sin. He felt all this for us.
The darkness of separation from the Father did not last for the Son. It was over. Jesus declared, “It is finished!” Good words on our Good Friday.
Entertainment at the expense of the people was rampant. Hostility was waiting for any excuse to erupt. Military incursions were a daily affair.
Good people were losing hope. Power was in the hands of officials who bent the law to satisfy their personal agenda. Anger and intimidation overpowered reason, righteousness and love.
The world had sunk to a level where authorities would murder children to cover their own infractions and advance their influence. Might was the premier. Yet, the immoral posture of those in power had massive doubt.
To ameliorate the uncertainty and unrest among the population, appeasement was common place. Bargaining to keep the general population below their boiling point was a part of the “passing the buck” and shifting blame and destroying the truth with bribery and false testimony. Was any hope to be found for the human race so long ago?
Hope sprang eternal with a single sacrifice. One died on behalf of the many. It was not just a volunteer who stepped forward.
Rather it was the only one who could be a substitute for all. Even the very wicked were represented by the perfect sacrifice of love. Jesus, the Christ, willingly gave Himself as a substitutionary death for all.
That is Good Friday. An ignominious death so long ago has impacted the eternity of all forever and ever. His one submissive act to have His blood shed gave all mankind hope through the amazing grace of God’s redemption.
Yes, that is a mouthful. However, it was that magnificent. It was such a phenomenal act of mercy that even the world’s worst had a chance to turn, repent and believe.
That is why Good Friday is good. It was a horrible day because of the death of the only perfect One. Yet, it was the best event for mankind in anticipation of the new life to come.
photo credit: brucefong photography
I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your sprit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.
How can it be?
That You, my King would die for me?
I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.
photo credit: brucefong photography
the Garden, where Jesus prayed before He was crucified for our sins
33 At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said,
“Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink.
“Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,”
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said,
“Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Mark 15.33-39 NIV84
narrative arrangement by Bruce Fong