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Good Friday 2015

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
April 3, 2015

Jesus has been crucified.  This is a punishment used only for the worst of criminals but Jesus is not a criminal.  When they bring Jesus to Pilate, Pilate asks, “What charge do you bring against this man?”  They only reply, “If we were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.

How could they treat Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, this way?  Distraught at what is happening, Peter denies Jesus three times.

Yet, this should have been expected.  Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer but they could not believe or understand it.  Yet, it wasn’t new with Jesus.  600 years before Jesus, Isaiah speaks of the Suffering Servant.

Isaiah tells us that the Suffering Servant will be raised high and greatly exalted.  This is Jesus.  Isaiah also speaks of the servant as the one who will be marred.  Jesus is scourged and beaten.  The Jews expected a great political king but, as Isaiah spoke of the Suffering Servant, Jesus had “no stately bearing.”

Why must Jesus suffer?

Isaiah gives the answer stating, “he was pierced for our offenses, cursed for our sins.”  Why?  “through his suffering, my servant shall justify many.

Jesus dies for us.

But before He dies for us, He has another purpose to fulfill.  As He says to Pilate, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

Some people today believe that there is no universal truth, that all are free to believe whatever they want.  This is not so.  There is a truth that lasts forever and it comes from God through Jesus.

Jesus came knowing that He would die for our sins but before He freely gives His life for us, He teaches us what it means to be disciples.

What He teaches is the Father’s Will but it is not a popular message.  It leads some to oppose Him.  Are we willing to say an unpopular message?

Jesus’ teaching gets Him arrested.  When Jesus was questioned He was given a chance to speak.  He could have recanted what He had said or claim to have been misunderstood.  He doesn’t.  In fact, when He is questioned, He tells them to ask anyone who has heard Him speak what He has said.  Even facing death, Jesus stands by what He had said.  Would you?

If you had spoken what is true, would you change it to save your earthly life?

If you had lied, would you come clean before death?

When faced with the possibility of arrest, Peter denies Jesus three times.  Would you have done any different?

If we look at the story of Jesus’ Passion in solely earthly terms, it would seem His life was taken from Him but it is not.

As the Suffering Servant, Jesus willingly hands His life over, submitting to our Father’s Will.

Why?

Because He knew that there was a benefit that would come from His Suffering.  What benefit did Jesus receive from His Crucifixion?  He received no benefit for Himself.

We are the ones who receive the benefit of Jesus’ Crucifixion, the forgiveness of our sins, the salvation of our souls.

What Jesus did, He did for us!

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