Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday!!

Today, I ran errands all morning. I had so much to do yet I did not stop and reflect until now on the magnitude of Good Friday. I was too wrapped up in "self" to take the time to remember my Lord died for you, for me and the rest of world in the cruelest way imaginable. I can't even fathom what my life or this world would be like had Christ not paid my way with the ultimate sacrifice. He laid down His life so that we may live with Him in "paradise." It was foretold in Isaiah 53 that the Messiah would come and Jesus Christ filled this prophecy and ALL the others. In the books of Matthew 27, Mark 16, Luke 23 and John 19 it documents the suffering of our Lord Jesus at the time of His Crucifixion which ultimately was our deliverance. His death paved the way for our sin to be forgiven and our death sentence to be pardoned in the highest court in the Universe. Praise Him!! The Resurrection which we will celebrate on Easter Sunday is documented in the subsequent chapter of each of the Gospels. I am not jumping ahead to the Resurrection because I feel that I need to really contemplate the significance of the most decisive selfless act known to mankind. All of us should humble ourselves prostrate before the cross and worship Him for all that He has and is currently doing in our lives. I leave you with the Crucifixion story as told in Matthew 27: 11-65 (NIV)

11Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. 12When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 15Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." 20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered. 22"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!" 23"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" 24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" 25All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" 26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. 27Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.[b] 36And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" 41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42"He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " 44In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi,[c] lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"[d] 47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him." 50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son[e] of God!" 55Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. 57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. 62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63"Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first." 65"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
We all know the rest of the story -- that stone couldn't hold our Savior!! As the saying goes, "you can't keep a GOOD man down!!" Praise God for that!
Dear Heavenly Father -- Thank you so much for the greatest sacrifice ever made for "a wretch like me." Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy that you so freely offer me daily. Forgive me for not always being worthy - yet you love me anyway!! Praise you for Easter and all the year through! AMEN

2 comments:

Sharon said...

Paula,

I'm so proud of you and your blog! I want you to know that even though we have not talked in such a long time, I've been keeping up with your life here!

I love you and miss you terribly. I am blessed to call you my soul sista! I hope you have a joyful Easter. Please tell your family hello from Caroline and me!

Dana said...

I hope you and your family have a blessed Easter! Thank you for coming today - I always enjoy our time together :)