Thank you to everyone who worshiped with us on Good Friday. Here is the text of Pastor Tom’s message:
This is a day we call “good” because we stand on the other side of it. We stand beyond the cross, beyond the empty tomb. 20 centuries stand between us and that dark hillside outside of Jerusalem. But tonight I want you to imagine that we are not on this side. I want you to imagine that you are at the cross. You are there at Calvary with the mob, the mockers and the darkness, death, defeat – the outward signs of the great spiritual battle that is being waged at Calvary. And on that hillside – if we can imagine – 3 men hang nailed to crosses. 2 are criminals who are receiving the sentence for their crimes. The 3rd one is a travelling teacher and miracle worker – He is Jesus – the Son of God – dying like a common criminal.
But as He hangs there in the agony of death, something incredible takes place. JOHN tells us how Jesus provides for Mary’s care and protection. MATTHEW tells us of Jesus’ desperate cry asking why He has been forsaken. MARK speaks of the mockers who insulted Christ as He hung there. As we continue to picture ourselves there we are guided by Doctor LUKE who tells us of an incredible moment between Jesus and the 2 thieves who are sharing this agony. One thief chooses to curse and mock Christ. He uses his dying breath to lash out at God Himself. But for the other man, dying has brought on an incredible clarity and his last moments are used to seek the salvation that even that moment was being accomplished.
Imagine yourself there, it is a terrifying scene but in the midst of it a moment of incredible beauty occurs. A dying man turns to the dying God-man, Jesus, and asks to be remembered – and by that remembering to be saved, forgiven, accepted into Heaven. And Jesus, knowing that His blood was even that moment being shed for the sins of all the world. Dying as a sinless sacrifice for sinful people, Jesus answers the man’s question with the incredible promise that he will close his eyes in this world and open them in the presence and pleasure of God. Even as His body is broken and His blood spilled, Jesus pours out His love to a dying sinner. Jesus is dying for the sins of the world and He has tender mercy to a man dying next to Him. His love is so great that He died for the world and it is so intimate that He promises deliverance to one condemned thief.
That is Good Friday. It is love. Love poured out in a terrible, beautiful, unimaginable way. Love poured out to save dying, guilty sinners. Us. Love poured out to save US.