Scripture

Good Friday

Matthew 27:27-54

“Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha(which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, “I am the Son of God.” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Some of the bystanders understood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

Psalm 22(written perhaps 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus)

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.

But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”

Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.

Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me.

They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.

O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen.

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.

I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules the nations.

Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.”

Isaiah 52:13-53:12(written about 700 years before the birth of Christ)

“See my servant will prosper, he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when the saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected-a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weakness he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we cold be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Thank you precious Lord Jesus for bearing the sins and interceding on behalf of this filthy rebel. I certainly am not worthy. All praise in heaven and on earth belong to you, and you alone. Amen…

Please follow this link, and meditate on what Christ has done for you….When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


Morning Meditations…

What I’m reflecting/meditating on this morning:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”-Revelation 4:8

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”-Isaiah 6:3

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”-Exodus 15:11

When we read, hear, and say that God is holy, it is somewhat easy to pin down what that means. True, there are many facets, and his holiness, splendor, and majesty may be beyond our full comprehension, but we have a general picture of what it means, and though we may not fully comprehend it, it cannot help but turn our hearts to worship.(Unless you are Spiritually dead…)

As I think about, and reflect on God and His word this morning though, as I meditate on the above Scriptures, and His holiness, I can’t help but ponder the implications of His holiness for us when I read such passages as:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”- Genesis 1:27

“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy…”-1 Peter 1:15-16

All I can say is wow, examine myself, be humbled, and then I must worship…

Resurrection?

I was recently instructed in a class I’ve been taking through the church I’ve been attending the past few weeks to write a short paper describing what comes to mind when I hear the word “resurrection”, or to ask someone else what comes to their mind when they hear that word. Here is the paper that I turned in…

I have been a Christian for a little over 5 years now. It’s a bit strange, but I have a hard time trying to recall what came to mind when I heard the word “Resurrection” before that. Generally I suppose I would have said it simply means to “rise from the dead, or “to be raised from the dead.”

In preparation of writing this, and at the urging of our instructor I decided to ask an older gentleman that I work with, what came to his mind when he heard the word “resurrection”.

This gentleman is a believer in Jesus, though I believe his theology is rather amiss many times. Still I was very interested to see what he had to say. I was  a bit surprised to get quite a “nugget of wisdom” from him, though I’m not completely sure it was intentional on his part. Either way, I was quite impressed with his answer.

When asked what came to mind when he heard the word “resurrection” the first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Well the Lord of course!” He knows my faith as we have had religious discussions several times, so I figured maybe he was just giving me the “right” answer that I wanted to hear, so I pressed him a little more. I said, “…well yeah, that is true, but what about outside of a Christian context, what would you say comes to mind, if you weren’t thinking about Jesus?” He had to think for a minute, and finally said, “Well, I suppose I would just say it means to rise from the dead, but I really don’t see how you could hear the word “resurrection” and not think about Jesus…”

I love this answer, and surprisingly it seems like Merriam-Webster might agree. I looked up the word in the dictionary, and this is the definition I found:  “1 a capitalized : the rising of Christ from the dead b often capitalized : the rising again to life of all the human dead before the final judgment c : the state of one risen from the dead.”

I decided to look the word up in another of my dictionaries that I have on my Mac-Book and found several similar definitions. Even the sentences to give the context of how to use the word mentioned something about Christ.

So it seems that my old friend on this particular day had his theology just right. You really can’t think of the word “resurrection” without thinking of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I mentioned before becoming a Christian I would have given a definition akin to something like, “to rise from the dead, or “to be raised from the dead.” Now I see so much more to the word. The following verses I’m about to quote really are what the word now encompasses to me, and gives me such hope and such wonderful promises, now that I am a believer:

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

And

Romans 8:11, If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

The word doesn’t simply mean to “rise from the dead anymore, but it means a newness of life. We are not just restored to our old selves, but we are something completely new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Soli Deo Gloria