Good Friday

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Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. Traditionally the punishment of dying on a cross was reserved for the worst of criminals.

Yet Jesus willingly gave Himself up for this cruel death because of His love of mankind and His desire for their reconciliation with God.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In Isaiah 53 it says that, “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. ”

Because of Jesus’ wounds and His death on the cross we can be forgiven, healed, reconciled to God and have peace in our lives. Thanks be to God!

Persecution

Hebrews 12:3 and 4 says, “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”

Jesus suffered infinitely more than any of His followers are asked to suffer. This is a great encouragement when we are feeling weary.

Hebrews 4:15- Jesus does not expect us to go through anything that He hasn’t already been through.

2 Thessalonians 3:12 and 13 says, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Pesecution in some form is inevitable for the believer.

Hebrews 10:33,34- Though they had suffered persecution and loss of possessions, they had not yet had to die for the faith. They’ve not yet had to resist with the pouring out of their blood. Some people WILL have to have their blood poured out for the gospel. Praise the Lord if that hasn’t happened to you,  but some of the “cloud of witnesses” were stoned, sawn in two and put to death by the sword. They are our inspiration. Consider the outcome of Jesus’ life and what He achieved in spite of the opposition. You reap what you sow. And Jesus reaped a marvellous reward . Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning”. Consider the end of the matter. Consider the result and reward in Heaven of a godly life. Consider the eternal destiny of your opponents if they don’t repent.

Fix Your Eyes On Jesus

Hebrews 12:2 says, “looking unto Jesus , the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Just as a runner concentrates on the finishing line, so we should concentrate on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus shot the starting pistol – we started out on our spiritual life because the Holy Spirit drew us to Christ (John 6:44), and He is the one who will perfect our faith. Jesus was at the start and is at the end of the race. He is the One who brings our faith into being and causes it to grow, and He will bring it to maturity and perfection.

Jesus endured the pain, shame and humiliation of the cross for our sake, so we could be made right with God. What was the joy that was set before Him? Luke 15:7 says, “… there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” The joy was the Father’s pleasure at Jesus’ sacrifice and the repentance of sinners who otherwise would have no means of being made right with God. Furthermore Jesus was glorified at the Father’s right hand. He scorned the shame of the cross – Jesus died as someone disgraced, outside the city (Hebrews 13:13) and He died as someone cursed (Galatians 3:13) Crucifixion was the most degrading kind of execution that could be inflicted on a person, but Jesus scorned its shame because He knew what it would accomplish. Similarly the humiliation of our present suffering for the gospel’s sake is far outweighed by the prospect of future glory.(see Hebrews 11:26 and 2 Corinthians 4:17,18)

Likewise, we too, if we are obedient,  can look forward to the joy set before us . Matthew 25:21 says, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Now, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. The work of redemption is complete and Jesus is actively ruling with God as Lord over all.

The right hand of God is a position of authority, second only to God’s.

The more you look at someone, the more their likeness is imprinted into your mind. Let Jesus influence your life. Men put blinkers on working horses so they are not distracted by things on either side. If our eyes are on Jesus we should be blinkered to the things of the world that seek to distract us. The Bible is not talking about a quick glance on a Sunday morning, but steadily and continually fixing your eyes on Jesus.

Let Jesus transform you.