Day 39 of Lent: Good Friday

Today, followers of Jesus celebrate the paradox of "good" Friday. In the words of one author, it is "the ultimate paradox - at once atrocious and wonderful, scandalous and beautiful, the worst kind of hate and the best kind of love. On this day, we were convicted and pardoned, condemned and freed, cursed and blessed."

Good Friday, in unique ways to all our other days of worship, is a call to worship.

Call to Worship

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (ISAIAH 53:1-6)

In response, let us confess...

Confession

Gracious God, having heard your Word, we thankfully remember the life of our Lord Jesus Christ on this earth. Yet we also acknowledge our failure to respond earnestly and faithfully to his witness. We often mistake Jesus for a mere earthly king, friendly companion, or problem-solver, failing to see him as the ruler of all creation. We do not appreciate the depth of his passion and sacrifice on the cross, failing to acknowledge him as our way of salvation. Even in this Lenten season, we have not walked faithfully in the way of Jesus Christ. Forgive us, we pray, and bring us ever more fully into the joy of union with Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Taken from Journey to the Cross)

And let us remember what happened this day...

From Justin Taylor and Crossway:

The following video, filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, features short explanations from and interviews with historian Paul Maier and New Testament scholar Andreas Köstenberger, looking at the origin, object, and purpose of Roman crucifixion, along with one difference in emphasis between the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and John on suffering and glory.

A Fighter Verse Prayer for Holy Week

I love it when streams of our spiritual disciplines come together and inform one another. That has happened for me this week as...

  • my desire to get more of Jesus in Lent, and now this ending of Lent in Holy Week,
  • and my practice of memorizing Scripture through the Fighter Verse program - this week's verse being Romans 5:8,
  • and my practice of prayer,

all came together with the help of pastor Scotty Smith. I invite you to pray his prayer with me today.

As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

    Dear Jesus, everything about Holy Week reveals the depth of your compassion for sinful, broken people, like me. The tears you wept coming into Jerusalem, and even the passion you showed driving the moneychangers from the temple—every encounter, parable, and action gives staggering clarity to Paul’s words,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Paul was writing about me. I’m one of the powerless, ungodly sinners for whom you died—demonstrating God’s incomparable, irrepressible love for the ill deserving. I wasn’t an impassioned seeker; I was God’s enemy when I received the gift of reconciliation (Rom. 5:10). I have peace with God only because God made his peace with me, through you.

I would still be blind to what alone brings us peace, if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need and your provision. The gospel would still remain hidden from my eyes unless you had given me sight to behold you as the Lamb of God, who took away my sin. I have no claim to salvation… no boast, no hope, no assurance of sins forgiven and righteousness received, apart from sovereign grace.

How I long for the Day when I will no longer even be tempted to look for peace anywhere else, but in you, Lord Jesus. I yearn for the Day when we will see you as you are and we will be made like you (1 John 3:1-3).

This is my great hope—until that Day, keep healing the eyes of my heart of all spiritual myopia, astigmatism, or anything else that keeps me from seeing the magnificence of your glory and the full measure of your grace. So very Amen I pray, in your tenacious and tender name. 

Your Foes, Your Fears, and the Purpose and Promises of God

As Jesus leaves the home of the Pharisee, attacked by the Pharisees and experts in religious law, he faces a crowd of thousands, clamoring to see and hear him. It is at this moment - of attack and popularity - that Jesus chooses to teach his disciples about the danger of hypocrisy.

(RSS readers may need to click-through to view the video.)