My sermon for the good Friday service online . Thoghts…
My sermon for the good Friday service online . Thoghts please be gentle ?
Today on good Friday Jesus raises the bar and shows us what a king truly is, someone who’s willing to suffer and die for his people, this is exactly what Jesus did.
When they came to the place called the skull, they crucified Jesus, we join with the crowd gathered at the foot of the cross witnessed in the suffering and the death of Jesus, our Lord, our King.
This is not the way it’s supposed to end, we say how can our king be here in this place hanging from that Cross, when the image presented to us through books, newspapers and television is not an image of a world full of suffering, not an image of a poor world, but a world full of glamour and success.
Success is ours if only we claim it for our own. Success is defined by things like happiness, wealth beauty and Influence, not by suffering and death.
In this world one must be successful if you want to survive, to be self-made seems to be the benchmark, there’s an old adage people use: lead, follow, or get out of my way.
In this world the slogan is help yourself, HELP YOURSELF! The very words to mock Christ our lord and saviour, 3 times, but the leader scoffed at him saying “he saved others let him save himself if he is the Messiah”.
And the soldiers they also mocked him saying, “if you are the King of the Jews save yourself are you not the messiah”.
“Save yourself and us” says the thief to his right.
So why doesn’t he do it? Why doesn’t he save his self? If it was us on the cross how might we have responded to these temptations to save ourselves?
But in the middle of all this horror Jesus says, “ABBA (daddy) forgive them for they know what they do”, Jesus hangs there on the cross before us and between all of us, he hangs there praying for us and reminding us what love really will do for even those that don’t deserve to be saved.
Jesus is in the midst of an execution, in fact he’s right in the middle of it, he’s hanging between two criminals.
Now, Jesus is totally innocent he’s been stitched up in a mock trial, influenced by the religious leaders who were blind to his true identity as King and envious of the crowds he was pulling.
The religious elite saw their influence dwindling, their power waning and from very early on in Jesus’s ministry they wanted rid of him. But, if we listen to their interactions that day, we learn a lot. There’s a key phrase I’d like to try and unpack. When the religious leader, the solders and the thief call out to Jesus “Save yourself”. All of them thought they were being so clever, if you think you’re, So Great Jesus take those nails from your hands and feet and save yourself. It’s a terrible thing to say, it’s hard to think of anything more cruel.
I tried to think of an analogy to represent this.
It’s like a doctor spending his life saving patient’s who’ve had heart attacks, only to die of a heart attack himself, could he have saved himself? Absolutely not. Could you imagine saying to this doctor you saved others, but you couldn’t save yourself.
But, there’s an important and significant difference, Jesus could certainly have saved himself, you see they were actually too blind to realise that Jesus actually; stilled the waves, healed the sick, gave the blind there’s sight and raised people from the dead. Jesus certainly could have saved himself. Yes, indeed, Christ the King, not only of the Jews, but the King of Kings could have saved himself, but the reality is if Jesus had saved himself that day, he would not have saved you and me. Jesus willingly died in surrender to his father, that we might live. Jesus himself took the sins of the world into his body and sanctified them.
Understand that the salvation Jesus offers, is not just a simple salvation, of get me down off this cross and let me free, the Salvation Jesus offers is eternal salvation! eternal salvation from death and sin. Christ didn’t choose to abandon us, but Christ the King replies “truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise”. The crucifixion is not the end of the story, for that we can be grateful and rejoice.
Save yourself the thief says to Jesus!! NO, I won’t, said Jesus, that I might save you.