Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

"They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered
in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to
carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right
way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you
were or where you were going. Now you're named and kept for good by the
Shepherd of your souls."

This piece of Scripture comes from 1 Peter 2 (The Message version) and I love it. It reminds me that Good Friday was not a "good" day for Jesus but became a "great" day for me. But, it also makes me think!

I so do not deserve what Jesus did for me.
Jesus = so innocent, so humble, so loving.
Me = so selfish, so greedy, so imperfect.

Thinking along these lines this Good Friday, I came across a sermon that Martin Luther published in 1519. It was called "A Good Friday Sermon on How to Contemplate Christ's Holy Sufferings." I know it seems difficult to relate to something written over 500 years ago, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you dig through it!

There is one part of the sermon that I find extremely compelling! Martin Luther basically says that where one thorn in the crown of thorns pierces Christ, more than a thousand thorns should pierce me (and even more painfully at that). Luther says that where one nail is driven through Christ's hands and feet, I should eternally suffer the same (and even more painfully). That is what I deserve becuase I allow a seperation between myself and my relationship with God. That's what sin is, afterall, anything that seperates me from God. But, thankfully, I don't have to suffer this as Christ already endured it on my behalf! So, why don't I celebrate and give thanks for this fact more?

And then there is this verse from Romans 8:38-39. It says "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So in the end and because of Good Friday, there is nothing that I can do (EVER) to make Christ not love me, nor God turn from me. There is no thought I could have, no action I could do, no statement I could make, no punch I could throw that would make me any less loveable in God's eyes! And that truly is GOOD news because (let's face it) I am not perfect and I am going to mess up! Could I do a better job at many things in my life like my attitudes, generosity, praise and thanksgiving? Absolutely. But even when I don't do life well and screw things up, God remains by my side, sometimes carrying me through it, and there is nothing I can do to make God ever be willing to leave my side. I might turn away from God, but God NEVER turns away from me. Again, that is GOOOOOOOD news!

This Good Friday, I am challenged to be more thankful for the suffering that Christ endured on my behalf and his never-ending faithfulness to me.

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