Friday, April 2, 2010

Events of Holy Week Part 6--Good Friday

Good Friday? Hmmm. What a strange name for a day of such horror...what can be good about a day that is known for the greatest travesty of true justice in all of history? How can it be good that an innocent Man be found guilty through false testimony and rail-roaded to a verdict of guilty?

The answer is this: it's Good Friday because of the good that Man accomplished on behalf of His people! It's Good Friday because the "punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (Read Isaiah 53 today sometime).

I've already shared the timeline...a timeline which, of course, is known precisely. In Mark 15:25 we learn that Christ was placed upon the cross at 9am local time (Jerusalem time). Jerusalem is 8 hours ahead of the Central Time Christ was actually placed upon the cross at 1am Friday morning, central time. Then we know from Luke 23:44-48 that darkness covered the land from noon until 3pm local time (4am-7am central time). The 7am hour in Birmingham, Alabama is approaching as I type these words...the minutes almost feel more holy...the approaching change of the hour takes on new significance.

The real wonder of the Christian faith is that it is entirely rooted in time and in space. You could hop on a plane and in a matter of hours visit spots where the very events recorded in the Gospels occurred. If you were there by 3pm Jerusalem time, you could spend a quiet moment reflecting that at that precise hour Jesus yielded His Spirit and said, "It is finished."

What was finished? Redemption! Salvation! It's called Good Friday because though it is true that "we ALL like sheep have gone astray...and EACH of us have turned to our own is ALSO true that the LORD has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

Think about that...and you'll know afresh why it's called GOOD Friday. There IS a Creator...One to Whom we ARE accountable. Why do we feel guilt? Much of the time because we KNOW we ARE guilty!

Where did the conscience come from? Is it some cosmic joke...something that just appeared after billions of years of evolution? Did the impersonal universe plus time plus chance suddenly thrust the "human animal" outside of the helpful realities of his/her own existence? Did we suddenly evolve a conscience so that we have a sense of right and wrong that is merely illusionary? Did we suddenly evolve a thirst for meaning and significance that is unfulfillable because we are really just a cosmic accident?

I love talking to the unchurched...and the de-churched...I love to make people think...why do we deal with guilt...and shame...and self-condemnation...why? Because we know deeply within our own souls that we don't even live up to our OWN standards...let alone the standards of a Holy Creator God. Sin is may not be popular to say...but that doesn't change the reality. Sin is real. Guilt is real. Judgment is real. Hell is real. Christ is Coming Back.

Good Friday is the day on which all those realities were faced...and a particular day on which WE are forced to grapple with what we believe about eternal realities.

So...what are YOU going to do about Good Friday? It's not "good" automatically? All the benefits of the day are not just magically applied to every person on the planet.

It's Decision Time folks.

Who are you ultimately looking to in order to deal with the reality of your guilt, shame and self-condemnation? It's a black or white question...EITHER you are ultimately looking to yourself and your own efforts to build some kind of record of righteousness that you hope will win God's approval and merit His forgiveness OR you are choosing to trust in and rest in and hope in the obedient life Christ lived and the substitutionary death He died to GIVE you forgiveness as a matter of free matter what you've matter where you've been.

But Good Friday isn't a day that merely offers people "Fire Insurance (from hell)" from above...trusting Christ is an all or nothing proposition...He calls for all of you (and me)...all the time...for the rest of your life. There is nothing half-hearted about following this God-Man who hung on a cross...there is no turning to Jesus as Savior and refusing to bow the knee to Him as Lord.

Listen...none of us who follow Christ, follow Him perfectly...that's the WHOLE point of Good Friday! It is NOT my capacity to "make Christ Lord/Master/Boss" of my life that gives me God's approval...that favor, blessing and forgiveness was purchased by Christ and Christ alone...however, grace that saves a person ALWAYS changes a person.


I'll never forget my "first" was 1980...the first time Easter got was just a few months prior that I gave my life to trust and follow Christ...and nothing has been the same since. Maybe this year can be YOUR first Easter. Trust Him.

Maybe some of us have had our FIRST Easter years ago...but have lost our "first Love." What a time to renew your recommit your surrender offer every nook and cranny of your heart to Christ...don't expect perfection, simply trust and surrender is CHRIST who makes us new and renews us daily.

Huh...I just looked at the clock on my is exactly 7am! Guess I'm finished. far as a U2 clip...I wish I had their song "White as Snow" from their latest album, "No Line on the Horizon." It could possibly be the most blatent Christ-centered song they've ever performed. I can't find a place where they've performed it in front of here are the lyrics...

(however, there is a home-made video of the song on You Tube if you're interested--just copy and paste in your browser)

Where I came from there were no hills at all
The land was flat, the highways straight and wide
My brother and I would drive for hours
Like years instead of days
Our faces as pale as the dirty snow

Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the Lamb as white as snow

And the water, it was icy
As it washed over me
And the moon shone above me

Now this dry ground it bears no fruit at all
Only poppies laugh under the crescent moon
The road refuses strangers
The land the seeds we sow
Where might we find the Lamb as white as snow

As boys we would go hunting in the woods
To sleep the night shooting out the stars
Now the wolves are every passing stranger
Every face we cannot know
If only a heart could be as white as snow
If only a heart could be as white as snow

Of course, what Bono is trying to get us to think about is obvious...if only? If ONLY? Ha! It CAN be!

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