Good Friday

2019-04-19 – Good Friday – The Rev. Christopher Klukas

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22:1-11; Hebrews 10:1-25; John 18:1-19:37

Witnesses of the Crucifixion

  • Last weekend I was at a class on healing prayer, and one of the speakers was a chaplain to the inmates on Florida’s death row.
    • He talked a bit about his ministry and what it was like to walk with someone in the weeks leading up to their execution.
    • At the execution itself, if the prisoner wants him to be there, only he and the prisoner’s lawyer are allowed to be present in the witness room.
    • When the execution is finished, he leaves the prison and goes to be with the deceased prisoner’s family and answer any questions they may have.
  • To minister to someone, to pray for someone, you have to develop a love for that person, you have to love them with the love of God.
    • Imagine witnessing the execution of someone you love.
  • When Jesus suffered on the cross, most of his disciples scattered for fear of their own lives because of their association with a condemned rebel leader.
    • The Gospel mentions that four of his disciples stayed until the very end. Three Mary’s and John the evangelist. John 19:25-27.
    • Imagine the sorrow of Mary, witnessing the bloody, painful death of her beloved son.

The Guiltless One

  • There is a major difference between the execution of Jesus and that of the prisoners of Florida’s death row.
    • Whether you believe the death penalty is right or wrong, we trust that our justice system would not allow for the execution of someone who had not committed a serious crime.
    • Jesus had done nothing wrong. His execution was not just. Even Pilate, the Roman Governor said so. John 19:4-6, 12-13. He only agreed to Jesus’ crucifixion because he was scared of the crowd.
    • This is backed up by the prophecy of Isaiah, hundreds of years earlier. Isaiah 53:9, 11-12.

The Guilty

  • So if Jesus didn’t deserve to die, who did?
    • Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray…”
    • “Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas my treason, Jesus hath undone thee. ‘Twas I Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee: I crucified thee.” (Ah Holy Jesus).
  • Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death…”
    • This is the sentence upon each of us, for all of us have sinned. But Jesus offers grace, the free gift of sacrificing himself in our place. Enduring for us the punishment that each of us deserves.
    • Caiphas, the high priest who sought Jesus’ execution, put it well when he said – John 11:50-52. He didn’t know what he was saying, but God spoke rightly through him.

Grace

  • This is the amazing grace that we sing about. That Jesus, the only one ever without the stain of sin, offered himself as a sacrifice for all, that we might be saved and reconciled to God.
    • Jesus didn’t have to die. He wasn’t forced into a corner. When his captors came for Jesus and said who they were looking for, Jesus responded “I am he” and they all fell to the ground simply at the sound of his voice.
    • He could have escaped, he could have called down angel armies against them, but he chose to be captured, accused, and executed for our sake. He knew there was no other way.
  • It was a great rescue mission. The lost children of the Father were to be freed from the bondage of sin and returned to their rightful home.
  • But Jesus doesn’t force us to return home.
    • Some are far away from God and don’t realize that there is anything wrong
    • Some feel guilty and want to fix themselves to earn the Father’s favor.
    • The only way back to God is through humbling ourselves to receive the grace of our amazing savior Jesus Christ.
  • Today we thank him for this amazing grace. And we accept, once again the gift that he gives us.
  • Hebrews 10:19-23

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