Friday 10th April - Good Friday

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Today we read Luke 23: 1-46. 

Two criminals were also crucified alongside Jesus that day. One of them was told by Jesus (v.43) “…today you will be with me in paradise.” This criminal must have committed a major crime to be sentenced to death by crucifixion, so it wasn’t that the good in his life out-weighed the bad which would then enable him to enter paradise, neither did he have any opportunity to do anything to ‘pay’ for his sin and make him acceptable to enter paradise - yet Jesus declared that this man would be with him after his death. All this criminal had done for Jesus to make this statement was acknowledge his faith in Jesus being the Christ – God’s anointed One. This declaration was enough for God to forgive the sins of this criminal and for him to have the assurance that he would be with Jesus for all eternity. And scripture tells in many places that we too can know that same forgiveness and assurance through us declaring our faith in Jesus being ‘God with us’ – our Saviour – laying down his life for us and making today a very ‘Good’ Friday.

Just over 2,000 years ago Jesus became the perfect, sinless sacrifice, and something amazing happened – the bible tells us that Jesus’ death pays the price for all our sins – sins committed today! – and sins committed tomorrow!! The simplest answer to ‘How can this happen?’- is that this is what God has decided will happen and he is the one to whom our debt is owned. God declares that Jesus the perfect and sinless one - his death pays the debt that each of us have incurred through not loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength.

Usually on Good Friday we spend the morning walking with the other local Christians and we sing hymns about the death of Jesus, declaring such truths as:

 “We may not know, we cannot tell what pains he had to bear;

  but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there.”

While the cross was a most dreadful instrument of torture it was also the place where we can most clearly see how much we are loved by our creator:

Jesus loves us.  - He faced the mobs for us.

Jesus loves us.  - He endured torture for us.

Jesus loves us.  - He went to the cross for us.

Jesus loves us.  - He gave his life so we could be free

  • free from the treadmill of pointlessness
  • free to live life in all its fullness.

Listen on YouTube to ‘How could you say no’

Now return to the outline of a cross which you created on Sunday, and which hopefully have been surrounding with words which describe what is wrong in the world and what we would like to see changed in our own lives. These words describe things which can get in the way of us seeing and experiencing the love God has for each of us.

Cut out the cross and put it somewhere safe until Sunday. Take the rest of the page which has on it the ‘sins of the world’ which Jesus died for. Carefully set fire to it (outside), or if you have a document shedder use it, or take some scissors and cut the sheet into very small pieces. As you do this remember the verses of scripture Ron quoted yesterday from Romans ch.8: 37-39 - because of Jesus’ death on the cross, none of the things we wrote on that sheet of paper can separate us from the love of God made known to us through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Listen on YouTube to ‘Cornerstone Hillsong’

Our bible reading informed us that (v.44) darkness came over the whole land from the 6th to the 9th hour – that is the 6th to 9th hours of daylight. Usually it is assumed that daybreak would be 6am, so on that day of the crucifixion the sky went dark at midday and stayed dark until 3pm when Jesus died. That left about 3 hours until Sabbath began at dusk on Friday, and those who loved Jesus didn’t want to leave him on the cross during the Sabbath. Now read Luke 23: 47-56.

TODAY – Good Friday at the 9th hour – at 3pm (set your alarm) together we can all read aloud the same words at the same time (Isaac Watts 1674-1748)

             When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,

my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God:

all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down:

did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small,

love so amazing, so divine, shall have my soul, my life, my all.

On Sunday ‘Churches Together’ are trying to encourage Christians across the nation to stand outside their doors at 10am – and sing an Easter hymn, they suggest either “Thine be the glory” or “Jesus Christ is risen today”

I can find nothing in TV listing today which connects with the events of Good Friday, but on Sunday BBC 1 morning worship is at 11:25am and Songs of Praise at 1:15pm

I am looking forward to writing to you on Sunday - imagining you all reading it while dressed in brightly coloured clothes - Stephen

Page last updated: 25th April 2020 11:56 AM