Friday, April 03, 2015

Why we can call this day "good"

The Crucifixion - Alexandre Bida
The Crucifixion - Alexandre Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 15:1-41

 TO CHEW ON: "So when the centurion who stood opposite Him saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, 'Truly this Man was the Son of God.' " Mark 15:39

As we read the detailed account of the hours leading up to the cross and the hours Jesus spent on the cross, we get the sense of several things:
  • How typically human this whole drama was.
The religious leaders had manipulated things their way—finally. The crowd was as wishy-washy as crowds typically are. The soldiers gloried in their power and got themselves a few laughs even as they meted out Roman punishment.

  • How inevitable this whole drama was.
We got glimmerings of that inevitability yesterday as we heard the resignation in Jesus' voice when He prayed through (Mark 14:36). In today's reading He was silent in His own defense (Mark 15:2-5). As the scene played out, He fulfilled prophecy (as Mark points out: Mark 15:28).

  • How pivotal this event was.
Jesus' words from the cross, His quick death without the aid of numbing myrrh or wine, and the temple veil torn in two from top to bottom (no human hand could do that!) were all sources of incredulity. Even that hardened Roman soldier looking on recognized that this was no ordinary man being crucified (Mark 15:39).

These many years later we are still seeking to get our minds around how that moment changed everything. Bible writers have probed it too, both prophetically and in hindsight. Here are some of the accomplishments of Jesus' death—and resurrection three days later:

  • Jesus  bore our sin, became sin for us - Isaiah 53:12; Romans 5:6; Hebrews 2:9.
  • He laid down His life for our lives as He said He would - John 10:11.
  • In dying He made possible the crop of Christ-followers that has sprung up over successive generations, and around the world - John 12:24.
  • His death and resurrection conquers life and death - Romans 14:9.
  • He fulfilled Scriptures showing that this chain of events was no fluke but in God's plan from the beginning - Genesis 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3.
  • His death gives those He died for the motivation to live for Him - 2 Corinthians 5:15.
  • His death makes it possible for us to stand before God "blameless and above reproach" - Colossians 1:22.
  • His death results in His glory as the world's Redeemer - John 12:23; Revelation 5:9.

No wonder we call this "good" Friday!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for going through with this! I know how only eternity will reveal the true weight of what You accomplished that day on Calvary. For all that I understand of it now, I thank you, thank you, thank you!

MORE: Good Friday

Today the church celebrates Good Friday. The Good Friday liturgy begins with this Collect:

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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