Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Oh what a week ahead! We have the last of Christ’s teachings at the Last Supper on Thursday, the terrible events of Good Friday that lead to our Saviour’s death, and then the ultimate joyous celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and our victory over death on Easter Sunday. To speak on one event and leave out the others just doesn’t seem right. So, I will make an exception to my Liturgical Devotion guidelines. This week I will focus on the Scripture for Good Friday. Then next Monday, I will rejoice with you with the Easter passages.
Well, let’s top up our coffees and head into the most grievous week in the history of the creation…
Readings for Apr. 10, 2020; Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13—53:12; Psalm 22 or 31; Hebrews 4:14-16;5:7-9; John 19:17-30
Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30b
Have you ever strived for something so hard, where you gave it your all, and at the end of it, once you knew you were completed what you set your mind to, you simply collapsed? You’d given it your all through the whole process, and once finished, you were drained?
As a member of a dragon boat team, I usually feel like that, to some extent, following a 500 meter race. From the start of the race, my mind is set, and vision focussed on the finish line half a kilometer down the river. Then at the sound of the horn determination, drive, and adrenalin kick in and I give it my all, and for the next two and a half minutes I ‘empty the tank’ as we say. Finally, once over the finish line, my whole body is jello. It takes everything in me to casually paddle to the unloading dock.
Whether it is a sporting race, or competition, or (you name it), most of us can identify with taking ourselves to the brink of our existence, enduring beyond what we could normally endure in order to attain a goal on which we have set our minds, a goal that is self-satisfying and not necessarily important or beneficial to anyone else. And when it is complete, we proclaim, “It is finished! I did it!”
Well, Jesus too set his mind on a goal. A goal which meant he would endure not only exhaustion but ridicule and pain and suffering and death. It was a goal where he would not receive anything from it. He was not desiring to be self-satisfied. Oh no! His mind was set on a goal that would 100% benefit someone else. He set his mind on the goal of redeeming you and me, and all of humankind; to being the lamb without blemish or spot that was to be sacrificed once and for all in order that all humanity would be reunited with the Trinity for eternity; to conquer this earthly death and to have victory over sin, death and the power of the devil. There was nothing he ‘had’ to do for himself, but he did it all for us. The hatred from others, the lies, the ridicule, the thorns that lodged in his skull, the scourging spikes that ripped apart his body, and the piercing nails through his hands and feet that kept him hanging on a cross- he endured it all with the goal of his love for us. In fact, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Hebrews 2:2b) Joy? Really? Oh yes! Think about it: It pleased him to endure such pain because it meant his precious creation would be reunited with their Creator. His love is that strong. His love is that selfless. And it’s the love he has for you.
So, as you walk to this most holiest of weeks, take time to lay yourself at his altar, sins and all, and remember and give thanks for God’s love in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour of the world, and proclaim with him, “It is finished!”. Then together “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. . . . Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1. . .3)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, Forgive me all my sins. Thank-you for enduring all you did in order to redeem me. Help me to live in thanksgiving to you in all I do, say, and think, and help me to not grow weary in doing so. In your name I pray. AMEN!