Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Good Friday was originally God’s Friday


Good Friday was originally God’s Friday

Good Friday is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar, commemorates the crucifixion day to remember what Jesus did for the humanity- when He faced the cup of God’s wrath upon sin on that hideous cross. According to the Bible, Jesus is believed to have died around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Jesus was crucified for the sake of humanity, which is probably to be dated April 3, A.D. 33.according to the liturgical calendar of the Western church; it is the Friday before Easter. It was termed as the victory of good over evil, victory of righteousness over sin and the victory of life over death and since then, the day has been celebrated as Good Friday.  The need of sacrifice for human sins is acknowledged in most of the world's oldest religions. Jesus is the son of God and medium between human and God. He was God's perfect sinless substitute, who bore the punishment on behalf of the sinful human race. Through his sacrifice, Jesus became the bridge between humans and God.

Christians observe this day with great humility and reverence and believe the day is "good" because the message of Good Friday and Easter is of Christ's victory over sin, death, and the devil; as the Apostle Paul wrote: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." It is believed that, in Jesus' death on the Cross, He took once and for all the sins of all mankind upon Himself, in our place. This gift He extends to everyone who will believe in Him. Believing in the Good News of the Gospel is our hope. Jesus, the Son of God, who died for our sins, was raised again for our justification, we who believe being made in right stead with God. As early as the first century, the Church set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. It was not until the fourth century, however, that the Church began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ. First called Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church, the name "Good Friday" was adopted by the Roman Church around the sixth century. Good Friday rituals and traditions are distinct from every other Church observance. They add to Good Friday's significance.

Christians across the world remember Jesus arrest, trial, crucifixion and death at Calvary by offering prayers, fasting and reading out the gospel and seven “sayings” of Jesus from the cross. This day is not considered as a day of celebration rather a day to remember the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross; prayers and sermons are centered on the suffering, pain and humiliation that Jesus underwent for the cause of redemption, forgiveness and the salvation of humanity. Calling the day of the Crucifixion ‘Good’ Friday is a designation that is peculiar to the English language. What a supreme paradox. We now call the day Jesus was crucified, good. It is termed as ‘good’, ‘best’ and the ‘blessed’ because the barrier of sin and death was broken. So perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday. Good Friday is truly so good because its sorrow is a godly sorrow. It is like the sadness of the Corinthians church who wept over the sharp letter from St .Paul, convicted of the sin in their midst. Hearing of their distress, Paul said, "My joy was greater than ever." Why? “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow.” (2 Corinthians 7:10NLT).

To understand the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross, also known as the atonement, we must study the Biblical truths of God’s character, God’s creation, human sin, and God’s responses to sin and sinners. To do this, we need to briefly examine the truths that are absolutely essential to understanding why Jesus died on the cross and what his death means for us. The message of Good Friday is that the dictum of "an eye for an eye" cannot work. The way to conquer evil is through good. Similarly, violence can be overcome only by non-violence and hatred by divine love. So let us reflect on the question Why Jesus died on the cross? It’s not unusual to hear these questions, and I am often confronted to answer such questions by Believers and non-Believers alike. How does Jesus’ death “save us from our sins?”

                What’s So Good About Good Friday?


We all have our favourite author, favourite book, favourite food, favourite hobby and favourite place.  Do you know that there is an all-time favorite scripture verse in the Bible that is John gospel chapter three verses sixteen which says.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”

I think, there is no sweeter verse than this in the Bible to describe Good Friday. It declares: (1) That God is love. (2) That He loved the man kind so dearly (3) that He so loved that He gave his only Son. The Son did not come to appease the Father's wrath, but the Father sent him because he loved so well. (4) That he came to keep men from perishing. (5) That the Eternal life is free gift to all who believe.

God proved his love for us by giving us the best he had to offer -- his only begotten Son who freely gave himself as an offering to God for our sake and as the atoning sacrifice for our sin and the sin of the world. Such a love as that which induced God to give his only begotten son to die for the world could not be described by mere words: This love does not mean that God approved the conduct of men, but that he had benevolent feelings toward them, or was "earnestly desirous" of their happiness. God hates wickedness, but he still desires the Happiness of those who are sinful. "He hates the sin, but loves the sinner." A parent may love his child and desire his welfare, and yet be strongly opposed to the conduct of that child. When we approve the conduct of another, this is the love of complacency; when we desire simply their happiness, this is the love of benevolence.


What was Jesus' death all about? Why did Jesus need to die for us?

The love of God has proved itself in the gift of the son, of himself. In sending Christ to become man God proved that he longed to have man one with himself, that all his life and love as God was for man, that man might be made partaker of the divine nature. Christ came into the world for the one sole purpose of revealing this love. He spoke of it, he lived for it, and he died to bring it to us. And as he prayed ‘that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them,’ he meant his disciples just as much as himself, to have it in them, to live for it, to find their glory and blessedness in carrying it and making it known.

To describe the Sacrifical love of God let me illustrate a story from Bryan Chapell, which happened in his hometown: Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly. When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?" The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders" With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.  Hebrews 2:10-16 describes Jesus Christ’s willingness to be like the older brother to us:  “ God—the one who made all things and for whose glory all things exist—wanted many people to be his children and share his glory. So he did what he needed to do. He made perfect the one who leads those people to salvation. He made Jesus a perfect Savior through his suffering. Jesus, the one who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2:10-11ERV) So Jesus is not ashamed to call them us his family. Sacrificial love is self-sacrifice with the pure motivation to alleviate the suffering of others.

This supreme love is suffering love, love that requires involvement in the complex problems of the world, love that bears with the failings and weaknesses of others, love that is committed to helping others regardless of the cost. We have the classical example of Christ, who offered his life to redeem sinful humanity. The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness, passes all human comprehension. His matchless and unparalleled love towards us is so vast and boundless and its depths are immeasurable. Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand his previous glory in its height of majesty, and his incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. But who can describe the majesty of Christ?

The Infinite became an infant

Bible beautifully describes that “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”(Philippians 2:6 -8 NLT) Christ existed in the majestic "form of God" from all eternity as he shared in the glory of God. Though he existed in the splendorous "form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" Jesus was fully human and fully divine. He held all the power and authority of God, but he voluntarily, for our sakes, subjected himself to the limitations of human existence. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Jesus said “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15.13)

Who can tell his height of glory then? And who, on the other hand, can tell how low he descended? To be a man was something, to be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed, and die, and suffer, these were much for him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony--to endure a death of shame and desertion by his Father, this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. This is the love of Christ that surpasses all human knowledge. (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude, and lead us to practical manifestations of its power. Let us briefly reflect on the significant of Good Friday.


Just before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples: "I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father" (John 16:28). Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. Jesus also came to reveal God to humanity. In particular, he opened human understanding to the Father-Son relationship that exists within the Godhead. God revealed himself fully in Jesus Christ. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). During this period of incarnation, he, the Son, remained one with his Father in heaven. "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," said Jesus (John 14:9). Jesus told his apostles: "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him" (John 14:21). God wants to unite humans to him in a profound relationship of love – the love the Father and Son share. God is revealed – is manifested – to those in whom that love works.
Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, we see the Lord’s love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn’t deserve pleasant treatment. Agape love is the reason we are able to care for someone who mistreats us—its God’s doing, not ours. Even the adoration we offer the Lord is not something that we can produce in our own heart apart from the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to Him and others.
The greatest Virtue manifested
1Corinthians13:1-3 says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
There is no virtue, Gifts or emotion of greater importance than love. The Corinthians church focused too much on their display of operating  gifts, so the apostle showed them the “more excellent way” of love (1Cor. 12:31). Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way. Interestingly, he made no attempt to define love but instead described its importance and expression. The brand of love which Paul is talking about is not human in origin, but rather a love coming from God—a part of His very nature. It’s unselfish, sacrificial and everlasting love. Since the Lord wants to transform our character into the image of His Son, this priority makes perfect sense, because whenever we display such selfless care for one another, we manifest Christ love.

God originally created man so God could love him, fellowship with him and manifest God’s glory through him.  As a perfect, loving creator, sustainer and source, He is worthy of that glory.  We were created, quite literally, to be God's children and to glorify Him.  He wanted to love us, care for us and be with us just like parents do today with their own children.  Adam and Eve were created without sin and God deeply loved them.  God also desired that they would love, honor and worship Him.  A perfect, loving creator is worthy of such adoration.  In order for there to be true love, there has to be freedom of choice. Had God just forced Adam and Eve to love Him by creating them to automatically do so, they would have only loved God because they had no other choice--it wouldn’t be a true expression of love.

Why would God put a tree in the garden and then tell them they couldn’t eat from it?  Simple, it gave them free choice.  Now Adam and Eve could choose to show their love for God by choosing to obey Him, or could choose to disobey Him by eating the fruit.  By not eating the fruit, Adam and Eve were also proving that they trusted God enough to do as He commanded.  Until they had eaten the fruit from that tree, their relationship with God was a very close, intimate friendship.  In fact, Genesis 3:8 in the Bible shows that God, Adam and Eve literally walked and talked every cool of the day in the garden.

Originally all things were in a perfect state of harmony under our Lord Jesus Christ, as we are told in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, verses 15-20:  Everything that was made and created was made and created in Him and by Him and through and for Him; not only the world and animals, but angels and thrones and principalities and powers. Furthermore there was perfect harmony in all these realms. The Lord Jesus Christ was over all — over the angels and all powers and authorities and dominions; then over the world, the animals and the fruit of the earth. Man was made as a crown of creation over all animals and inanimate nature. All was absolutely perfect and in a state of entire harmony and unity. Everything worked harmoniously downwards from the great Head, and everything worked upwards, back again towards the Supreme Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. But, alas, the unity and harmony did not continue; and the present situation of the world is due to that fact known as Sin.

God put man in the garden and gave him work, responsibility, command and dominion over the earth, Satan, an angelic creature smarter and deceptive came to Eve in the garden to deceive her. It resulted in Adam disobeying God and brought sin to earth. Sin entered into man’s nature and spread to the offspring of all people. The Bible says that "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." In other words because of sin we are physically alive but spiritually dead .God is holy and righteous he had to judge them for their disobedience. Same time God is Love, hence He had to do something to reverse the separation of sin that took place to his creatures. In theological terms, it means that Jesus’ death was Substitutionary, His death was in our place, solely for our benefit, and without benefit for himself. He took the penalty for our sins so that we don’t have to suffer that penalty.

The greatest sacrifice made ever

Jesus enters into our world and preaches “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.” The Scriptures never report Jesus participating in animal sacrifice in the Temple, and, in fact, just days before he is killed he goes into the temple and drives out all those who were selling animals to be sacrificed! Jesus goes and embraces those who have been rejected and oppressed in his society: the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the women, the lepers, the fishermen, and even the Gentiles. Jesus also goes around forgiving people’s sins…not because they have sacrificed an animal to a bloodthirsty deity, but because God is able to forgive because God is merciful and accepts the sacrifice of a contrite heart!

As Hebrews 10:4-6 says:

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

Jesus shows us once and for all what God is really like. Jesus, as the God-man, becomes the victim: not a victim to God’s wrath, but to humanity’s sin. Jesus is the victim of our scapegoating mechanisms and structures. The inevitable end to Jesus’ life was death…and he knew it. Jesus shows us that, rather than condemning and victimizing others, God willingly becomes the victim to take the place of all our scapegoats. It was not a coincidence that Jesus died on the day of Passover, the day when the lambs were killed, the scapegoats of the day. Jesus takes the place of every scapegoat, and becomes instead, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

We no longer need to abuse, kill, or sacrifice victims or scapegoats because God has already taken on that role in its fullest form. The cross exposes and reveals OUR sin of scapegoating and then, immediately forgives it! Jesus is the Lamb of God; he died on a cross to take the place of all scapegoats, animals and humans alike. Jesus’ death is substitionary only in that sense.“God is willing to die for us, to bear our sin in this particular way, because we desperately need deliverance from the sin of scapegoating. God breaks the grip of scapegoating by stepping into the place of a victim, and by being a victim who cannot be hidden or mythologized. God acts not to affirm the suffering of the innocent victim as the price of peace, but to reverse it."

We, as a people, are all guilty of the sin of scapegoating in one form or another. Some of us have also been victims of it. The Cross exposes all of us. We must exercise the sacrifice of mercy, not of violence. That is the call of the cross. Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been slain for this purpose. 

The importance of Good Friday is that "Jesus Christ" (God-Man) died on the cross and brought end to the sins of mankind, Broke the power of death and its sting. Jesus Christ had paid a great price for every single soul that receives Him as Lord and Saviour. The Enemy of mankind the Satan/Devil was judged on that day. Jesus Christ defeated Him by His resurrection. Anyone in Christ Jesus - the fear of death had been removed. The physical death is the threshold to enter into a glorious life. On Good Friday; the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. So let us think about the Biblical account of the crucifixion.

Jesus Predicts His Death-“ From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21)   Just before his crucifixion, Jesus led his disciples to the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane. There he pours out his heart burden to God, while the disciples, unaware of the pending events to unfold slumber nearby (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32, Mark 14: 32-42, Luke 22: 39-46, Matthew 26:36-46).and he tells them they will desert him tonight.  They protest and say they will not, but Jesus says, "It is written in the scripture, ’I will strike the shepherd, and the flock will be scattered.'" Peter tells Jesus he would never desert him, but Jesus says,”I give you my word, before the rooster crows tonight; you will deny that you even know me three times".  Peter replies, ”Even though I have to die with you,  I will never disown you!"  The other disciples join in with peter saying they would never disown Jesus too.

Jesus prays for the disciples so they will be protected and be able to spread the good news that he gave them.  He tells them to stay awake and be on the lookout while he takes Peter, James, and John and goes a short distance to pray.  Then Jesus tells the three to stay there and keep watch with him.  Jesus goes a little farther and drops to the ground in sorrow and prays,  "My father,  if it is your will,  take away this suffering,  but even though I don't want to go through this, let your will for me be done.”

“While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, Rabbi and kissed him. Jesus replied, ‘Friend, do what you came for.’ “Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. "‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’

“At that time Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. 

Jesus is taken to the house of the high priest where other members of the council are waiting to question him.  Peter and John follow to see what is going to happen to Jesus but Peter is recognized as a follower of Jesus.  It is here that he denies knowing Jesus three times, then he hears a rooster crow, remembers what Jesus had told him, and goes away and weeps bitterly. 

The chief priests and elders seek many false witnesses to testify against Jesus so they can kill him, but no evidence can be found to support their charges.  Finally Caiaphas, the high priest, says to Jesus, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of God" Jesus answered, ”I am,  and you will all see the Son of Man seated at the right of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!"  The high priest tears his robes and says, ”We don't need any more witnesses!  You heard his blasphemy."  (to speak lightly or carelessly of God)  After hearing this, they all vote that Jesus is guilty and should be put to death.

Early the next morning the whole assembly brings Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor appointed for Judea.  Pilate questions Jesus privately and finds him innocent.  The Jews become angry and start to protest. When Pilate learns that Jesus is from Galilee, he sends him to Herod, the governor of Galilee, who happens to be in Jerusalem.  Herod was delighted to see Jesus whom he has heard so much about and is hoping to see him perform a miracle.  Jesus does not respond to Herod's questioning despite the strong accusations made by the chief priests and teachers of the law.  Herod makes no charge against Jesus, but he and his soldiers make fun of him and treat him with contempt.  Then they put a fine purple robe on him, and send him back to Pilate.

Pilate calls together the chief priests, the leaders and the people and explains that neither he nor Herod has found Jesus guilty of anything deserving death, so he will have Jesus whipped and set free.  The Jews are stirred to protest and tell Pilate Jesus should die.

Every year at Passover, Pilate sets free a prisoner.  He taunts the Jews by asking them,”Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus or Barabbas (he was in prison for riot and murder),  or Jesus called the Messiah?"  He knows that Jesus has been handed over because the Jewish authorities are jealous.  Pilate's wife sends him a message: 'Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him."  The chief priest and elders persuade the people to ask Pilate to release Barabbas and put Jesus to death.  Then Pilate asks the crowd, ”What crime has he committed?"  They start shouting, "crucify him!"

Pilate takes Jesus and has him whipped.  The soldiers make a crown out of thorny branches to pierce his head and dress him in the fine purple robe that came from Herod.  They put a stick in his hand and chant, “Long live the King of the Jews!"  They kneel before Jesus and make fun of him.  They slap him, spit on him and take the stick and hit him.

After the soldiers have their time with Jesus, Pilate brings him out before the crowd wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe to show them Jesus has been punished by being whipped, scourged and humiliated.  When the chief priest and elders see Jesus they start shouting,  "crucify him!"  Pilate tries to argue back saying,  "I find no reason to condemn him."  The Jews answer back,”We have a law that says he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."  Pilate becomes afraid and takes Jesus back in the palace for more questioning.

Pilate again comes before the crowd attempting to free Jesus, but the Jews shout back,”If you set him free, that means that you are not the Emperor's friend!  Anyone who claims to be a king is a rebel against the Emperor!"  When Pilate hears these words, he washes his hands in front of the crowd saying, ”I am not responsible for the death of this man!  This is your doing!"  The people publicly accept the responsibility of putting Jesus to death, and then Pilate hands Jesus over to the soldiers to be crucified. 

It is about nine o'clock in the morning when they lead Jesus, carrying a cross, outside the city walls of Jerusalem to the place where they will crucify him.  Along the way, the soldiers force a man named Simon, from Cyrene, to carry Jesus cross.

At a place called Golgatha, Jesus was crucified and hangs on a cross, bleeding to death from the scourging and where the nails pierce his hands and feet.  (Golgatha means a bald, round, skull like mound; the place had the appearance of a skull when viewed from a short distance. After the soldiers crucify Jesus, they take his clothes and divide them among themselves and gamble for the robe which is made of woven cloth without any seams.  This was written in scripture by David in Psalms 22, verse 18:

"They divided my clothes among themselves and gambled for my robe."

Pilate writes a notice on parchment and has it nailed on the cross above Jesus' head which reads:  'Jesus, the King of the Jews'.  It is written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.  The chief priests want Pilate to change it to 'This man said, I am the King of the Jews'.  Pilate's response was, “What I have written stays written.


Two criminals were also crucified with Jesus, one on each side of him.  One taunts Jesus saying,  "Aren't you the Messiah?  Save yourself and us!"  The other one speaks to the one taunting Jesus and said,”Don't you fear God?  We deserve what we are getting because of what we did, but he has done no wrong."  And he says to Jesus,”Remember me when you come into your kingdom."  Jesus tells him,”I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me."
 

Jesus sees his mother and the disciple John standing near the cross.  He says to his mother, "He is your son."  And he says to John,”She is your mother."  From that time, the disciple took her to live in his home. At about noon, the sun stops shinning and darkness covers the whole country until about three o'clock in the afternoon when Jesus cries out,”My God, my God, why did you abandon me?  (These words start the 22 Psalm, written by David which describe the feelings of Christ on the cross and the glory which will be given to him by all nations of the world. Jesus says,  "I am thirsty"  and someone runs up with a sponge,  soaked in sour wine,  puts it on the end of a stick and holds it up to Jesus' lips and Jesus cries out in a loud voice, "Father,  it is finished. In your hands I place my Spirit” Then he dies.


At that moment, the earth shakes, rocks split apart and the curtain hanging in the temple is torn in two.  This curtain separated the symbols of the Jewish religion ( (altar of incense,  the table of showbread,  and the seven branched lamp stand)  from the room reserved for God,  When the captain of the guard and the soldiers who are keeping watch over Jesus see the earthquake and all that happens and they say, He really was the Son of God.”


The Jewish authorities did not want to have the men who were being crucified left on the crosses during the Sabbath so they got permission from Pilate to break their legs so they would die sooner.  As they were doing this, they come to Jesus and see he is already dead so they did not break his legs but John saw one of the soldiers pierce Jesus side with a spear making two scriptures come true:  "Not one of his bones will be broken" and  "People will look at him whom they pierced". 

The wrath of God that should’ve fallen on us and the death that our sins merit instead fell on Jesus. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. Jesus is our Savior who alone can take away the punishment we deserve because of our sin. Jesus is our Savior who died in our place, bearing our punishment and taking away our sin—past, present, and future. Jesus has paid the penalty for your sins regardless of what you’ve done and paid the ultimate sacrifice to draw you near to him. On the cross as our substitute, Jesus willfully became the worst of what we are. This does not mean that Jesus sinned. Rather, it means that he took our sins on as his responsibility and paid the price for them that we should have paid—death. Scripture declares that on the cross Jesus exchanged his perfection for our imperfection, his obedience for our disobedience, his intimacy with God the Father for our distance from God the Father, his blessing for our cursing, and his life for our death.

The suffering began the night before in the Garden. It is incredible to consider all that He endured in those 18 hours. The physical suffering was horrific but the spiritual war within the three hours of darkness is something we cannot comprehend. In those three hours, when utter darkness engulfed the cross, Jesus faced the sins of the world placed upon Him. Hell was unleashed to vent its furry against the Son of God. On the cross, Jesus said,  “Father into your hands I commit my Spirit” and He released his spirit from his body. Immediately   the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, the graves broke open, and many of God's people who had died were raised to life.Mat.27:51.Now Christ is our Mediator between God and us. We have a new way to go into the presence of God.
He suffered and died over our sin, then rose from the dead three days later, overcoming it all. He is not hindered by sin or death. And he wants us to experience the same through him. It is our decision whether to accept the forgiveness he offers, by moving toward him, asking him to forgive us and enter our lives. John states it well in the Bible, "We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment. Jesus' prayer right before his death: "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they [Jesus' followers] know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.
The greatest message
Paul said “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Good Friday signify that Jesus  temporarily laid aside His glory and took a body, through the Virgin Mary, to live in long enough to die for the sins of the world. Jesus was the greatest missionary of all time. His mission was to redeem the earth and save mankind from the fatal results of Adams fall. The message of the cross is the message of the completed, finished work of God in Christ. The message of the cross is the message of an empty cross whereupon all crucifixion activity has ceased, for Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and come to live within our heart. The message of the cross is the message of liberating freedom to be all that God intends us to be by His grace in the out-living of His character. Beloved friends we all experience the pain that comes with forgiving someone. As we know the greater a person's sin against us, the more painful to forgive that person. Jesus wants to forgive us in an eternally deep way. He wants us to be completely, fully forgiven. He wants us to know that he will fully accept us and our sin no longer needs to be a wall between us.

The message of the cross of Jesus Christ is a message of Love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, hope and life. It’s a message that is most often applied in relation to the future life of all those who trust in Christ. That’s because Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that Jesus has defeated the power of death.  The Bible tells us that death is not simply a biological state, it is a spiritual power and Christ’s resurrection proves the power of death has been defeated not only for him, but for all who follow him in faith. Resurrection power gives love for the unlovely, joy that is deep and lasting. It gives us a kind word in response to insult, gentleness when our world is harsh.


As we gaze up at the dying Jesus, we realize that it is only because he was willing to be nailed to a cross that we don't have to live lives of desperation, trying to somehow escape the clutches of death. As his hands stretch out between heaven and earth, Jesus challenges us to look our mortality straight in the face, and trust that death has been defeated. When we can do that, we can comfort the dying and give them hope; we can hold their dying bodies in our arms and trust that mightier arms than ours will receive them and give them the peace and joy, they have always longed for. In dying, all of humanity is one. And it is into this dying humanity that our God has freely entered so that we might live.

Jesus was nailed to a tree, and he died. Yet by dying, Jesus defeats death. In his dying, Jesus opens the way to choice - the choice to live or the choice to die. The darkness in our hearts that makes us surrender to the power of death, the darkness in our society which makes us victims of violence, war and destruction has been dispelled by the light that shines forth from the One who gave his life as complete gift. It's hard to affirm life in the face of today's world. Every time we open a newspaper and read the stories of war, murder, rape - and countless other tragedies that lead to depression, sickness and death, we are faced with the temptation to believe that after all, death is victorious. And still, time and time again the death of Jesus calls us back from that temptation.

Jesus' death springs open that door in our hearts where God has written God's Law - the Law that calls us to choose life over death, and love over evil. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2) The real meaning of Good Friday will be known only when one enters into a living relationship with Lord Jesus. It is a relationship of trust, faith, forgiveness and love - in all the ways that one person is bound to another. Jesus Christ's passion and suffering does not begin at the end of his life; it grows from the human experience, which he shares with all of us. Jesus' suffering begins with the farewell to Nazareth. He outgrows childhood and becomes increasingly aware of his wider surroundings, of the hardships and sufferings of the people. He sees injustice and cruelty and the helplessness of the poor. He knows that only God's love, his forgiveness, his mercy, will overcome the narrowness, the intolerance, and the selfishness which dominates the world. He envisions a Brand new world where God's love flows through all the channels of human relations and restoration.

The greatest service one can do is to give their life for another; Jesus gave his life for all, not just a few. In our Nation Many soldiers had given their life on the battlefield to save others. This is the greatest human sacrifice. John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” This means a changed life from sin to righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit instead of the works of the flesh. These are “love, Joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” ( Gal 5:22-23).Jesus came to earth because of God’s love for all of us; no matter what religion, country or culture we were born into He wants fellowship with us. He wants us to experience the mercy and forgiveness that is needed to make us whole.

St Paul said “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”(Ephesians 1:7-10) Everything will again be united in Him. And wonder of wonders, marvelous beyond compare, when all this happens it will never be undone again. All will be re-united in Him to all eternity. The original and perfect harmony will be restored in man, and between men. Harmony on the earth and in the creation! Harmony in heaven and all under this blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who will be the Head of all. That is the message; that is God’s plan. That is the mystery which has been revealed unto us.  Think of, and live for the ultimate restoration of that glorious harmony which is coming, when we with our whole being shall praise ‘the Lamb that was slain’ 2000 years ago. The death of Jesus calls out to us to choose life in the light of eternity. A life of compassion not resentment, a word of acceptance not  rejection, a heart of forgiveness not revenge, a life to share not hoard. May God’s divine love, gives us His marvelous grace to overcome the narrowness, the intolerance, and the selfishness which dominates the world. Yes, there is eternal security in Christ. God Bless you


(Rt.Rev.M.A.Lalachan, Bishop, Believers Church, Patna Diocese)