Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Good Friday Message, 2014

Today is a very special day on the Christian calendar of spiritual events, known as, Good Friday. Some people call this day, "Holy Friday." It’s the Friday directly before Easter Sunday. It is generally celebrated as the day on which Jesus was executed. The Bible does not plainly state on which day of the week Jesus was tortured and crucified. The two most commonly held understandings are Friday and Wednesday. Some scholars, however, using an amalgamation of both the Friday and Wednesday arguments, maintain that Thursday was the day. Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Furthermore, Mark 8:31, says that Jesus will be raised “after” three days. In the massive arrangement of things, it is not all that imperative to know which day of the week Jesus was actually crucified. If it were all that crucial, then God's Word would have clearly revealed the exact day and framework. What is central is that He did die and that He materially and corporally rose from the dead. What is likewise essential is the purpose for which He died, to take the punishment that all sinners warrant. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” and in 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Both verses proclaim that by placing your faith and trust in Him, results in eternal life. This is a truth that equally rings genuine whether He was crucified on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!“ Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Here’s an interesting question, believing that Jesus was crucified and died on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, should Christians remember Jesus' death by celebrating Good Friday? The Bible itself doesn’t command that Christians remember Christ’s death by honoring any selected day. Yet, the Word of God does give us freedom in certain matters, such as these. Romans 14:5, tells us, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Even though the Bible doesn’t instruct believers to remember Christ's death on a certain day, once a year, like on Good or Holy Friday, the Bible does charges us to remember Christ’s death by observing the Lord’s Supper. First Corinthians 11:24-26, announces, “Do this in remembrance of me, for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” Let us be quick to remember that any ceremony, observance or celebration is up to the individual believer, we are not to judge what a man or woman chooses to observe and what they choose not to remember. They, according to God’s Word, have the right to select to observe or not. It’s truly up to the individual’s heart, mind and soul. Colossians 2:16, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.” Here’s another attention-grabbing question, why is Good Friday referred to as, “good?” What the Jewish agencies and Romans did to Jesus was undeniably not good, (Read Matthew chapters 26-27). Nevertheless, the outcome of Christ’s death was extremely good and positive! Romans 5:8, encouragingly relates, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18, happily tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” Many denominational churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually at sunset, in which Christ’s death is considered with ceremonial hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, and an appropriate message focused on Christ’s anguish for our sakes, often ending with the execution of the Lord's Supper. Whether or not Christians should choose to “celebrate” Good Friday is up to them, but the events of that day should be on our minds every day of the year because the death of Christ on the cross is the highest and most paramount of events and practices within the Christian faith. Matthew 16:21, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Acts 2:24, “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Matthew 28:6, “The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” AMEN!

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