Today I had the honour of preaching on Good Friday at a stunning Indonesian Church – called Ecclesia Church . Two of the College graduates Andrew and Beth are on leadership there – I love them – I would do anything they asked me to – so today with not a little fear and trembling – I delivered my first ever Good Friday message.
As I prepared I read all four gospel accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus and two little verses stood out to me- and I realised that they summed up all that happened on Good Friday . That before Paul could write Romans and unpack the theology of the Cross- that God had shown us what it all means in two incidents it is easy to overlook.
1. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. (Matt 27:51 )
Why is this so significant ? We all know that sin deserves punishment- when some-one does something wrong, our society will prosecute them and punish them, it is a value deep in our culture. So as humanity we know we are all fallen and that most days we also individually sin and do something that separates us from a Holy God.
Because of this only the priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only after having performed the proper sacrifices to pay for the sins of the nation. This curtain it is estimated was 60 feet high, 30 feet wide and 4 inches thick – a man could not have torn it – God tore it to show that Jesus had made the sacrifice once and for all .
The curtain was ripped and anyone could approach God! I wish I could tell you how excited this makes me !!
2. “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)
I love this little conversation between Jesus and one of the thieves hanging on another cross that same day.
Here is why I love it – because that thief could do nothing to please God at that point. He was hanging on a cross dying. All he did was acknowledge that Jesus was king (you have to be a king to have a kingdom) – he put his faith in Jesus . Jesus said that Today he would be with him in paradise.
Why does this move me- because the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is enough – nothing we can do can add to it. I can stop trying to please God – Jesus has done it on my behalf once and for all.
This week I remembered that the curtain that separated me from God was torn – Jesus had paid the price – and there is nothing I can do to add to it.
This my friends is Good News !! Maybe we all need to remember it today. Happy Easter !
The beautiful cross is from Phil Pringle Art http://philpringle.worldsecuresystems.com/artgallery
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