Thought for the Day 04/2 - Good Friday 10th April 2020 by Rev Peter Baxandall

St Peter’s Carlton Colville and St Andrew’s Mutford

Good Friday 10th April 2020

For many of us over the years we have been to church on Maundy Thursday and then to another service in some form on Good Friday but in between we have gone home, gone to bed and woken up refreshed on another day.

But it was not like that for Jesus!!

After a busy day that ended in that very significant Passover Meal, Jesus went from one ‘event’ to another with no chance to rest or relax in any way.

You can follow the ‘story’ in any of the 4 Gospels, but to get a flavour of what took place some of those events are listed below taken from Marks Gospel

Garden of Gethsemane Mark 14:32-42

Betrayal and Arrest Mark 14:43-52

Jesus tried at night Mark 14:53-65 & 15:1-16

Jesus is led out to the cross Mark 15:21-32

Jesus died Mark 15:33-41

The veil in the temple - Mark 15:38

Jesus buried in the tomb - Mark 15:42-47

There are so many things going on as these events unfold and space does not allow for us to go into them at length.

However, there are some significant points that we can look at in more detail.

From the outset, let us get it firmly in our minds that Jesus was in full control throughout these events.

He could at any stage have brought them all to a halt and walked away.

But Jesus went through all these things for the one simple but profound reason and that is because He loves you and me!!

He had come into the world to die in our place on that cross and win for us a victory over sin and death.

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane He laid himself before his Heavenly Father and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42)

Jesus, not joyfully, but willingly took on the cross with all its pain and shame and He did it for us.

As we see Jesus being led away to the cross it is as if that cross had our name on it such if the significance for us of this event.

Crucifixion is one of the cruellest and most painful of all executions ever devised,

The ‘criminal’ was held on the cross by nails through his hands and feet and that is painful in itself - but the pain only increased as the time wore on.

Most of the criminals who were crucified died of suffocation.

In order to try to gasp a breath the ‘criminal’ would push up on the nails in the feet but as the pain got too great they would slump down again taking all the weight on the nails through the hands,

It went from one kind of pain to another with no let up.

In the end, when there was no more strength to push upwards the criminal would slump down and slowly choke to death.

If you read John 19:31-33 we see that the Jewish authorities asked for the legs for the 3 criminals being crucified to be broken so that they could not push up any longer and the pain would cause a shock through the system to kill them.

This was a way of making sure the criminals were dead.

Just pause for moment and then consider the Roman soldiers that were guarding the criminals being crucified were told, if they dont die, you die’

These soldiers knew what it meant to ensure that the criminals died on that day they would be sure that Jesus was dead when his body was taken down from the cross.

Just before the leg breaking incident, the gospel writers record another significant event in this crucifixion.

In Mark 15:33-39 we read that Jesus cried out in agony, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me’

For the only time in eternity Jesus was cut off from His Father by sin and it was our sin he had taken the sin of the world on his shoulders and dealt with it.

At that point we read in Mark 15:38, ‘the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom’

As male Jewish worshipers approached the Temple they would pass through the Court of the Gentiles then through the Court of the Women and into the Court of the Men.

However, even the men could only go so far and beyond was the Holy of Holies and a large, heavy curtain or veil was hung to keep even the men from approaching God in person.

It was that Veil that was torn as Jesus died and it was torn from the top to the bottom.

In other words, God the Father tore that Veil to make open the way to all to come to Him!

Because of Jesus death there was now no reason why people should not enter into God’s presence to meet with Him face to face.

Good Friday came to an end as Jesus body is taken from the cross, embalmed and laid in a tomb and the gigantic stone was placed over the entrance to the tomb and Jesus was buried.

It was all over!! - Or was it?

No, it was not all over and early on Sunday morning the Easter message began to ring round Jerusalem but, as they say, thats another story and it is one we shall look at together in our Easter Day ‘Thought for the week’.

In the meantime, we close this thought by looking at a well known hymn, ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ and the words are printed below.

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 ever 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,

Demands my soul, my life, my all!

 


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