Why do we call today “Good Friday” the Savior of the World was nailed to a cross on this day.
As Mark described on Sunday He rode into town gentle Jesus meek and mild on a colt, a young donkey NOT a white stallion like the conquering King that they had hoped for and yet the people lined the streets shouting “all hail to the King!” Blessed is the King of Israel!
“Our Savior has come to ransom us from the disgrace of being subjects of a foreign Ruler. Our time has come!”
And less than a week later they nailed Him to a tree because He did not come to make them comfortable… He did not come to give them glory and power and pleasure the way our flesh desires. He did not come to give them what they wanted He came to give them what they needed. And He knows the difference between what we want today in Zimbabwe in 2019 and what we need.
I put Him there – you put Him there.
I trust that Jesus died for ME. To save me, to ransom me and you from the wages of sin which is eternal separation from our Heavenly Father.
The nail in the hand that Mark so beautifully described on Sunday has been extended to us and we like a cowering puppy afraid of what the hand might do quiver and shake and pee on ourselves – afraid to draw near, afraid to withdraw… we have this hand coming towards us today do we trust the hand?
The hand that was nailed to a cross to cleanse our souls of the stains of the world?
Despite the choices that we will make, despite the scorn that we will show him, despite the distrust that we display – that hand is still being stretched out to us today.
I trust that Jesus died for you and for me. And so we call this day Good!
On Palm Sunday Mark asked do you trust that Jesus is your King?
Last night at the Tenebrae service we asked do you trust that Jesus sacrificed himself for you?
And today I ask do you trust that Jesus died, for you?
On the face of it that’s not a tricky question – historically it is a fact that this man named Jesus of Nazareth did live, there are scores of eyewitness accounts to verify that He did perform a series of miracles over the course of several years and he was cruelly beaten and crucified by having 6 inch nails driven thru his forearms (nails that would have severed the tendons and ground against the bones of both the radius and ulna as He hung from them)
He then had a single nail driven thru both feet so that if he would breathe as He suffocated on the cross under the weight of your sin and my sin on his shoulders, he had to push down with His legs against that shard of iron wedged between the bones of his feet.
Coincidentally, these iron nails did not keep Jesus on the cross. You did and I did.
He was fulfilling His mission.
“The son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The word trust is very intentional it means the same as believe but so much more; to believe is to accept as true, to be convinced of or have faith in.
To trust is much more – it is to not simply accept, but rather to place one’s hope in, it is not merely to be convinced of – it is to have conviction of or in, a truth a reality a purpose a plan a person!
Do we TRUST that Jesus died FOR us?
Or like the Jews are we disgruntled because he let our friend die when we believed him for healing, or didn’t get us the promotion we were hoping for or the raise that would allow us to go on holiday
are we disinterested in following Him because He has not made us comfortable or given us power, popularity, privilege, praise, peace whatever it is that we thought He would deliver!
Or do we TRUST that He did not come to make us comfortable… He came to make us dangerous.
Free men are dangerous.
Men and women who fear nothing are hard to control – they are dangerous.
And that is why the Rulers of Jesus’ day feared Him and killed Him.
Jesus called himself the Son of God – a crime for which He was crucified.
Perfect love casts out fear – Jesus is love therefore He was fearless, he was no respecter of man or of what man could do to Him, He did not fear them, He loved them, and so they killed Him.
Napoleon Bonaparte said,
“Caesar, Charlemagne, Alexander and I have all founded empires. Upon what did we found our empires? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his upon love and even today there are millions that would die for him.”
That’s right when we put our TRUST in Jesus and eternity with him, we become dangerous.
37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:
THIS IS JESUS
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then two criminals[n] were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at[o] Him, shaking their heads40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,[p] mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him[q] come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him![r] For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon[s] darkness came over the whole land.[t]46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá[u]sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken[v] Me?”[w]
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”
50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. (Other translations record that he shouted out “it is finished”)
51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary[x] was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.
After 3 excruciating hours He died and was buried in a tomb.
So this is not a discussion about whether Jesus lived or died – these are both facts that no one disputes.
So the question is rather one of motivation.
We know that Jesus died. But do you trust that Jesus died FOR you?
I’d like to show you a clip from the Lord of the Rings that I think perfectly captures the reality of the battle that took place on Good Friday almost 2000 years ago.
In the clip this little band of brothers is on a mission to save the world – an allegory of Jesus and his disciples.
They are pursued by evil – a fiery red dragon.
And so their leader Gandalph as a metaphor for Jesus – surrenders himself to the shame and pain and inextinguishable wrath of the flames of Hades.
He sacrifices himself so that his men might live.
With the parting words – fly you fools – he releases his soul to the abyss.
With the final words “it is finished” Jesus surrendered His earthly body, scorned and deformed by the weight of the sin of the world, my sin and your sin, to eternal damnation.
Can you say today, “I trust that Jesus died, for me?”
It is finished.