Read John 19:12-18
This is PASSION week. I customarily teach on Jesus’ road to the resurrection this week. However, this year, I was led to continue to teach on the miracles, until I got to today. Today is Good Friday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross. I am led to discuss this today. I pray this message blesses you. This upcoming Sunday morning has nothing to do with eggs, Peter cotton tail, or chocolate bunny rabbits. It has everything to do with the life, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. With that in mind, let’s get into the message.
Jesus was arrested without ever committing a crime. After going from mock-trial to mock-trail in the middle of the night, without any witnesses testifying against Him, and without any true charges, Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate. The Jews were under the captivity of the Romans, so they did not have the power to fully prosecute Jesus themselves. The Jewish leadership were hoping to get Pilate to have Jesus killed. The Roman governor wanted to set Jesus free He could not find any fault with Jesus. The Jews were aggressive and persistent. They were not going to miss this chance to kill Jesus. Pilate had a dilemma. He knew Jesus was innocent, but he also wanted to maintain his relationship with the Jewish elite. So he offered one last-ditch attempt to save Jesus. Pilate gave “the people” an opportunity to commute one prisoner’s death sentence. To hedge his bets, Pilate juxtaposed Jesus with Barabbas, a known murderer. To his dismay, the people picked Barabbas. With that, the only innocent man to ever live was sentenced to death.
The next step was to nail Jesus to a cross on top of a hill. Jesus was forced to carry His own cross up the hill to a place known as “The Skull.” In Aramaic this place is called “Golgotha.”
I know you are busy this morning and I am sure you have lots of things to do. Your schedule might even be flooding through your mind as you read this email. But please pause for a moment to think about the significance of what Jesus did for you.
Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples, He washed their feet, and He then prayed for hours. He prayed for Himself, the disciples, and for all believers, before Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. The policemen tied Jesus up and arrested Him like a dirty criminal. They dragged Him from mock trial to mock trial under the cover of darkness. They ordered a skillful torturer to take his cat-o-nine-tails (a long leather whip with nine lashes on it that had bits of metal and bone tied to it) and hit Jesus with it 39 times. Every time he hit Him once, it was like he was being hit 9 times. Every time the lashes hit His back, the bits of bone and metal sunk in. When the torturer pulled it back, he ripped chunks of Jesus’ flesh off His back. This was repeated 39 times.
They punched Jesus in the face. They put a hood over His head and slapped Him and asked Him to prophesy who hit Him. They twisted up a thorn branch and drove it into His head as a supposed crown, in mockery of Him being the King of the Jews. Blood came dripping down His face. They then took Jesus’ battered and bruised body and made Him carry the same cross that they would soon nail Him to. Jesus had to carry that cross up Golgotha’s hill, while the crowd yelled at Him, mocking Him along the way. As Jesus looked out at the crowd, He saw some of the same faces that were praising Him (singing Hosanna, Hosanna), just a few days earlier, as He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus’ disciples had scattered, the people had turned on Him, and they sentenced Him to death without one witness and without one crime.
Can you picture Him? He has been beaten silly. His back has been ripped open. His skull has been pierced with the crown of thorns. He is painfully carrying His own cross. He finally makes it up the hill and they then take the cross He was carrying and lay Him down on it. They stretch out His hands, they take huge (railroad-like) nails and drive them through His flesh. Have you ever heard a large hammer? Can you hear the sound now? Bang, bang, bang, bang, as they drive the nails through our Savior’s hands. Can you imagine? They then bring His feet together and repeat the process.
Why all of this? Why this pain? Why this torture? Why this crucifixion? The answer is simple: it all happened FOR YOU! Think about that for a minute. Jesus looked beyond all that pain and looked forward some 2,000 years… and He saw your face. The thought of you is what kept Jesus on that cross!
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
- Jesus paid a great price for you. So whatever you are going through for Jesus, it will always pale in comparison to what Jesus went through for you. Remember that when you are being persecuted.
- Jesus understands. If you are in pain, He knows about pain. If you are dealing with problems, He knows about problems. If you are hurt by two-faced people, He experienced that too. Jesus went through all of what He went through, so He could meet you where you are and identify with your every struggle. Jesus knows, He understands, He cares, and He will see you through it!
- Live your life in a way that makes His death worth it. When you think about Jesus and all He suffered FOR YOU, you should want to make every second of every day count. After everything He did for you, what will you do for Him today? When you get to heaven you want to be able to look at Jesus and say, “Here I am Lord. Your death for me was not in vain. I did what you wanted me to do, by your grace and for your glory!”
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for reminding me of the price Jesus paid for me. Jesus was bruised, beaten, tortured and crucified FOR ME. Jesus willingly took the pain associated with the cross, for the joy that was set before Him. I am part of that joy. While Jesus was being beaten, He thought about me. While the nails were driven through His hands, He focused on all those who would be saved by His death. While the nails were driven through His feet, Jesus saw the cloud of witnesses that would be drawn to Him through the annals of time. I was in that number. I am one of those who has been saved because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus died for me. Jesus took my place. Jesus paid my debt. Jesus saved me from sin, hell and the grave. Father, I am eternally thankful to You for Jesus. I will live my life in honor of Jesus’ death. Jesus’ death for me shall not be in vain. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.