Scripture Reading : Matthew 27 : 45 – 56 (Surely He was the Son of God!)
For most Christians, this day, Good Friday, is a difficult day! The Scriptures remind us of the brutality, humiliation, and agony of Jesus’s death on a cross. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to think about Good Friday! Sometimes I like to keep my distance from that awful cross. I don’t like to ponder just how steep a price was set to redeem me from my sins. I don’t like to think that I am responsible for the pain, suffering, humiliation, ridicule, and yes, death, Jesus endured to take away my guilt, shame, and punishment.
I find it much easier to think of some people who have done all sorts of evil things, who have intentionally hurt or even killed other people. You know, people who seem to enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on others, who seem to excel in telling lies, who are obviously dishonest, who seem to have no morals at all, who seem to care only for themselves, surely these are the people who are responsible for Jesus’ suffering, pain and death, not me. Like the Pharisee, comparing himself to a tax collector who cannot even look up towards God in Heaven, who presumes to remind God of how good he is, I sometimes like to tell myself that compared to these kinds of people, I am not so bad. And then I am reminded of how fickle I am when I read about Peter denying Christ, realizing that I too have denied Jesus at times when the pressure is on. When I read about how all Jesus’s disciples deserted Him at the time of His greatest need, I am reminded that I too have shied away from opportunities to be involved in important Kingdom work. When I think that here at the foot of Jesus’ cross, it is a Roman Centurion who exclaims, “Surely He was the Son of God!”, I am reminded and filled with shame that there have been times when I have not always proclaimed or acknowledged God’s presence or provision in my life, even though I know God has been with me. At those times, I know that I need a Savior! At those times, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I need Jesus, and that without His redeeming work on that cruel cross, I would be condemned and lost forever.
But praise God! Jesus was willing to die on that cross, for sinners such as me! On this difficult day, I know that I need to spend some time at the foot of Jesus’ cross, acknowledging along with that Roman Centurion, “Surely He was the Son of God!”, and knowing that Jesus is still alive and well in our world today, through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! Thanks be to God!
Closing Scripture and Prayer of Confession : Isaiah 53 : 1 – 12 (By His wounds we are healed!)
Lord Jesus, forgive me when I seek to keep my distance from You! Forgive me when I forget about the price You paid to buy my pardon. Remind me of Your great love for me and the sacrifice You made to give me eternal life! Help me stay close to You, day by day, and even today, Good Friday!
A time of meditation, reflection, and silent prayer.