Friday, April 18, 2014

EASTER: it's Friday

Easter is the best time for those who chose to follow Jesus.  That seems like somewhat of an ironic statement, but it is not.  Jesus’ life, death and finally His resurrection are what our salvation is completely hung upon.  Without the grace of God to take our sin and place it on Jesus, we could not and would not be offered salvation.

This week of history known as the last of Jesus’ life was wrapped in the celebration of the Passover.  This was the time to remember what happened when God’s people were in captivity, and it was the time when all first-born children were being killed.  Yet if a family followed the plan of God placing the blood of a lamb over the doorpost of their homes, the death angel would pass over their homes.

That is what Jesus became for us.  He shed His blood on the cross, and thus Jesus became our Passover Lamb.  Before His death we find ourselves on Friday.  It was the day that He died.  It was the day that we began to live.  It’s Friday.

29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. 32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

The road was busy all the time that Jesus had to carry His cross down.  It had to be heavy.  It had to be very difficult.  That’s when an innocent bystander was asked to get involved.  Simon didn’t know that his faith would need to be seen that day.

It was hard to carry the cross because Jesus had been beaten within a few minutes of laying down His life already.  Everyone seems to have turned against the man who had for a couple years turned the kingdom upside down.  He healed the sick.  He raised the dead.  He made waves and lives were changed because Jesus didn’t live for Himself.  It’s Friday.

35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Calvary or Golgotha was the end of their walking trip.  It was the place where executions took place.  Literally it was a hill outside of Jerusalem’s city walls where people could see what happened and tell their kids that this would happen to anyone that broke the law.  Yet our Jesus isn't and never was a lawbreaker.  In His own words He came to fulfill the entire law. 

By the nails in His feet and hands the sentence continued to be carried out.  His life meant much, but religious and government leaders wanted Jesus gone.  Many called this the battle between Jews and the government, but really this was the battle between Satan and God. 

Jesus took on darkness to bring us into the light.  Max Lucado wrote (and I loosely quote), “Jesus went to Hell for us so He wouldn’t have to go to Heaven without us.”  It was Friday.  Friday changed everything because of what Jesus did.

46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” … 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, … 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

God turned His back on his son on Friday because in the time between Jesus’ death on Friday and His resurrection on Sunday our sins were paid for in full.  Friday was and always will be an important day.

It’s Friday, and we celebrate the life of our Savior.  Spend some time today following Jesus with all your heart.

(If you live near us, join us this Sunday for Easter Worship at The Community Fellowship at 10:10am)

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happy birthday, Julie

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