Devotional Word for Friday, April 10, 2020
This is Good Friday. Even to Jesus it was Good Friday. Such thinking was what undergirded His actions and words on that day. Today, I would like for us to consider what was in His mind, in His heart, and on His lips during this time. It really began with Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, i.e. doing the work necessary to cleanse His followers. Remember what was in His mind: Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father . . . knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God. [John 13:1,3] Jesus had a clear sense that He was doing the Father’s bidding and that all would be well: that He would be back with God. May we have such a sense: that God gave us life, He gave us new life, we are doing His bidding, and He will take us into His presence when life is done.
That was challenged in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was wrestling with the reality of what it meant to do God’s will, what cleansing His people from their sins would require of Him. We remember His prayer: Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. [Luke 22:42] Even knowing He’s in the will of God does not eliminate the necessary struggle in doing God’s will! As we face similar struggles in our lives, may that mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.
Before the hostile tribunal of chief priests and Jewish authorities, He confirms with His words that He is fulfilling God’s call on His life. They asked Jesus: Are You the Son of God, then? Jesus answered them, Yes, I am. [Luke 22:70] When we’re asked by people hostile to the Christian faith if we’re Christians, if we really believe the Bible and what it teaches, may we say, Yes, I do.
One of the most encouraging points in Jesus’ life and ministry occurs on the cross in His interaction with the repentant criminal. Remember, Jesus has a sign on His cross that says – in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek – Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews. [John 19:19] The criminal makes this request: Jesus, [note the use of His specific name] remember me when You come in Your kingdom! You remember Jesus’ reply, Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. [Luke 23:42-43] When others ask us about eternal life, may we tell them about Jesus and His promises, even to people on the cusp of death.
Jesus was on the cross from 9am to 3pm. From noon onward a preternatural darkness fell across the land. It was not an eclipse or some other natural phenomenon. There was no sunshine at all. It was as if God had turned His face away. At the end of that time, at about the 9th hour, which was 3pm, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” [Matthew 27:46] This was – and yet was not – a cry of desperation. It is the first verse of Psalm 22. Jesus had Scripture going through His mind on the cross. It sustained Him. That Psalm contains an explicit description of the crucifixion. Though it begins with those words, it includes these words: For God has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard. [Psalm 22:24] Ultimately, it affirms, All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before Him. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations. [Psalm 22:27-28] May we have God’s Word in our minds and hearts so that when we go through afflictions that word may speak for us, speak to us, and help us declare God’s faithfulness and ultimate triumph.
The last words Jesus spoke on Good Friday were these: It is finished. [John 19:30] He meant that He had done God’s will, He had finished the task of providing the means for God’s great promise of redemption. This is the very thing Jesus prayed about in His high priestly prayer in John 17: I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. [John 17:4] God has tasks for each of us to do. They are not the means for our reconciliation to God. Jesus is the One who effected reconciliation for us. No, these are tasks by which we glorify God as we faithfully carry them out. He purposes to cause His light to shine through us as we faithfully follow Him in our daily duties.
I’ve identified six areas where we may follow Jesus in how we think, speak, and act. First, we need to know that God made us, has a good purpose for us, and will receive us back to Himself. Second, in the midst of great struggles, we should set our will is set to do His will and not our own. Third, we will make the good confession even in hostile circumstances, that is, that we are Christians and believe the Bible. Fourth, we will share the Good News with others and assure them Jesus can bring repentant sinners to heaven. Fifth, we want to memorize and hide God’s Word in our hearts and minds so that it can help us as we go through life. Sixth, we want to be faithful all the way to the end, until our lives have It is finished attached to them. All this is possible because it was a Good Friday.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus, to save us from our sins. Thank You for the reality of that salvation. It was a good thing that happened on that day long ago on Golgotha outside the walls of Jerusalem.Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being our Redeemer. We love You and worship You. Help us be Your faithful disciples. Let our lives reflect Your goodness and Your glory. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.