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Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

This is the day on which we are invited to come to a hill called Calvary, on which are erected three crosses. But it is the one in the middle that commands our attention!

We may think of its centrality - and not just in its physical location on that hill. If we are to understand anything about the life of the Lord, Jesus Christ, it must be in association with His death. His teaching; His compassion; His miracles; are all important - but the cross is central. His whole life moved towards that cross; and He knew it! It is also central in the teaching of the church, right since that first Day of Pentecost of the Christian era. It is central in the sermon, and in the sacrament. It is the symbol of the Christian faith that is recognised around the world. An understanding of the cross is essential to any understanding of the Christ; no appreciation of the Person of the Christ is complete without an understanding of His passion.

We may also think about the finality of the cross. When Jesus gave that loud shout: "Finished!" (John 19:30), He was not referring to His life, but to His work! And for that work to be completed, His death was necessary. If there was to be deliverance from sin, and hope for the future, He had to die. Something had to be done for mankind, that only God could do. And we may rejoice that His death was totally sufficient. There was, and is, nothing more to be done. We may recall that momentous event - but we can never repeat it.

And then, in total paradox, there is a regality in the cross. People had always sensed a particular authority about Jesus (Mark 1:27; Luke 4:36; John 7:46). It may often have been resented, but it was always recognised. And it was part of the identity that men clearly saw in Him. Pilate recognised that this was no ordinary man (Jn.19:19-22); the penitent thief recognised, in that broken and bloodied figure, a King (Lk.23:42); the centurion recognised that He was not the usual criminal whose crucifixion he regularly oversaw (Matt.27:54; Lk.23:47).

"Bearing shame, and scoffing rude; in my place, condemned He stood. Sealed my pardon with His blood - Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

The question is - "Is He your Saviour; your King? Have you given any real thought to what He's done - for you?" He died, in order that you might live. Receive Him, and know life - life in all its fullness (Jn.10:10).

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