Good Friday: Responding to His Sacrifice
Praise Jesus, the Son of the Living God!
Sing: Jesus Messiah
Sing: You Laid Aside Your Majesty
Read God’s Word
Matthew 27: 45-56
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
As Jesus hung on the cross, carrying the weight of the sins of the world, he cried out to God. Why did Jesus feel forsaken by God? How do we understand this?
The Holiness and Perfection of God means that God Himself is the only true reference for Perfection and Beauty. Therefore, He is devoted to His Glory. Does this sound egotistical? On a superficial level, it is. But as we think a little deeper, we start to see the logic. It is inappropriate for humans to be devoted to our own glory because we are not perfect. But God who is perfect in Holiness and is apart from Humans needs to be devoted to His own Glory. It is like magnets pointing North.
The perfection of God is not relative but is intensely relational. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit relate to each other in perfection. Thus, God cannot bend His standards to suit our whims and fancies. If perfection is relative, then it is not truly perfect. God is love. He is intensely relational. One God existing from Eternity in Three Persons. When Jesus took on the sin of the world on His shoulders, this perfect and intensely relational God could not bear the sight of sin on the perfect Son of God, Jesus. Thus, in human speech, God the Father turned His face from this sight and God the Son cried out from the depths of His heart in agony as their perfection had been stabbed at its heart.
Today, you and I are invited to relate to God. It is not just any relationship. It is an invitation made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and our Eternal God accepting a stab right in the heart of who He is. Hear the cry of Jesus radiating love from the core of His Being to us.
Jesus tore the curtain that separated Man from God, symbolizing God’s desire for Man to have access to Him. It is an invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him and know Him. It is not just mere fractional commitment. It is a full lavish surrender of our broken lives to God who freely surrendered His Son for us. Jesus never invited us for a fling. Today, let’s surrender our hearts fully to Him who surrendered His life for us. He will prepare us to walk towards perfection if our broken hearts are fully His.
Listen contemplatively: All For Love
O Holy God, O Sacred One, my Beloved Jesus our Saviour, how blessed are we that You carry the weight of the world on Your shoulders. You who felt forsakenness promise to never leave us nor forsake us. What blessed assurance that unworthy as I am… You would call me Your own, that Jesus is mine. Thank You Abba Father!!
Jesus, You are the Son of God and Son of Man, our Savior and our Shepherd, our Master and our Friend, the Word of God and Bread of Life that we hunger for and the Living Waters that we thirst for.
O Holy Spirit, consume my heart with a pure love for God! Create in me an unquenchable longing for Jesus, to be with Him above all else! Show me, Lord, what a wonder You are, for on that dark day, Your light shone gloriously to light the way! Surely You are God for no one else would nor could die for the sins of this world! None but the One who is Love Himself.
So Abba Father, I come before You, asking that my body, mind and spirit be so immersed in Your holy presence. Let nothing but sheer, pure love from me be given to You & You alone. And as I live my life, grant me the Father’s heart and the courage to follow Jesus and His example all the way, not by might, nor by power but by Your Holy Spirit. Even as I take up the cross to follow Jesus, teach me to trust in Your mercies that are new every morning. Keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Remind me that with You, nothing is impossible and so let all that is within me exude with praise, love and joy for Jesus my King! In His mighty name, I pray. Amen!!