Good Friday is here again. Seems like just yesterday, we had ashes placed on our foreheads for the start of the Lenten season. Now, we come to the time to continue to remember what our Savior did for us so many years ago and all this means today.
Tonight, many, many years ago, Jesus had supper with His followers. He told them what was going to happen, promised everything would be alright, and then He went to the Garden of Gethsemane with a few disciples. “….And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22.44. How many nights I have agonized over my life situations or my loved ones? I always thought God did not understand the agony of the human condition, however, I was wrong, He is well acquainted with agony as well as sorrow and grief and sin even though He never sinned or deserved punishment.
Today I heard a story that asked, “What is the very strong emotion to a person who is very difficult and terrible to us or has done very wrong things?” Most answered ‘hate,’ and at first that is what I would think I would answer. But the truth is there is another answer. An answer that took time to sink in – it is Jesus’ answer. He answers, ‘Love.’ Love is His response to those who hate Him, those who praised Him just a week before and now want Him dead, those who falsely accused Him, those who spit on Him, those who dragged Him to be humiliated in front of kings and jeering crowds demanding He be killed even though He healed many among them and fed them and was kind to them and did no wrong. Jesus responds in love to the ones who shoved a crown made of painful thorns on His head and beat His back, stripped Him and mocked Him and those who put Him on a Cross and drove nails in His hands and feet . He answers to forgive them and continues going to the Cross where He suffers an unimaginable death to save us and love us.
For ‘no one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.’ John 15.13. And ‘…but God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Romans 5.8.
God’s reaction to my sin, disobedience, stubbornness, pride, lack of faith, disinterest, hate in my heart against others who wronged me, and more is not hatred and disgust with me, but mercy and love and forgiveness. I am thankful as I remember the Lamb of God Who came to live and die for me and the whole world. The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. John 1.29.
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