That was the question we explored at tonight’s Good Friday service: What’s Good About Good Friday?
Yesterday in my post titled, “Last Words,” I promised I’d tell you about our Good Friday service. I told you our pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds, had selected passages from scripture that recorded Jesus’ last words.
I shared a few of Jesus’ last words spoken that last Friday … words that were memorable to me:
Mark 14: 24-25 = Last supper – blood of the covenant poured out for you
Mark 14:27-31 = Prediction of Peter’s denial
Mark 14:35-36 = Take this cup from me…
Mark 14:42-43 = Are you still sleeping? … the betrayer is coming
But those quotes were from Jesus’ last conversations with His disciples before He was arrested… before He was hung on the cross.
Tonight’s “Last Words” were from the cross:
Luke 23: 33-34 = “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23: 39-43 = “Truly I tell you, you will be with me…”
John 19: 25-27 = “Woman, here is your son…”
Matthew 27: 45-49 = “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
John 28: 28-29 = “I am thirsty”
Luke 23: 44-46 = “Father, into Your hands…”
John 19: 30 = “It is finished.”
The selection that was mine to read was #4. I practiced it a lot and still goofed up when I tried to read it orally because the scripture tells it in the language Jesus spoke: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabachthani!” I can say it just fine sitting here at my computer – but in front of the congregation? Put on the spot? I faked it! I hope most didn’t notice. I’m sure Jesus forgives me!
Each of us who read was invited to create and share a reflection and a prayer related to our selection. Here is what I said: “Like Jesus, there are times in our lives when we are in great suffering or turmoil, and we feel God has forsaken us. The Good News is He never has and He never will.”
That’s what’s Good about Good Friday!
Jesus took away our sin. He died for us. Because of His life, death, and resurrection, we can dare to approach God knowing He will never forsake us. Never!
My prayer was this:
“O God, You are our hope and our salvation. Your Son is our gift, our gateway, our guide. We thank You for His sacrifice for our sake that we might be assured of Life Eternal with You in Heaven.
Thank You for never forsaking us when we enter Your presence in faith. We give You our hearts and gratitude. Amen.”
Tomorrow is “Silent Saturday.” I will not blog.
I’ll be busy Easter Sunday with sunrise service and church and guests here for dinner. (Hopefully my granddaughter, Hope, and her hubby and two children, Xander & Sienna, will be among the guests)
I bet you will be busy doing meaningful things this weekend also. Happy Easter!
Today’s devotional e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org – spoke to me. I have included it here for you, my friends.
Have a beautiful day, and let us remember to be grateful for all our many blessings as we remember, “You are blessed to be a blessing.”
The Gospel of Matthew: The King Has Come HOLDING ON TO WHAT IS VALUABLE
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Matthew 19:16–30
In the children’s novel Where the Red Fern Grows, the main character, Billy, tries and fails to trap a raccoon until his grandfather teaches him a foolproof method: drill a hole into a log, place a shiny object at the bottom, and then drive nails into the hole at a downward angle. This allows the raccoon to reach its hand in, but keeps it from pulling its hand back out so long as it is holding the trinket. The trap works because raccoons are too greedy to let go of shiny things.
A raccoon in such a predicament has much in common with the rich young man Jesus encountered in Matthew 19. The man’s initial question indicated his desire for eternal life. But the man’s hold on the shiny things of this world prevented him from pursuing that desire.
When Jesus told him that if he wanted to be righteous he would have to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, the young man went away sad. And one can understand why. He wanted it both ways: to be defined by his financial wealth and to receive the spiritual riches of eternal life. With his hand grasped tightly around worldly possessions, he could not pursue the heavenly treasures reserved for those willing to sacrifice such things to follow Jesus (vv. 28–29).
Because of the tendency of wealth to elicit such grasping, we might regard it as inherently dangerous. But the deeper danger is the grasping response itself, for we might also grasp after power, status, or other earthly goods (see 1 Tim. 6:10). As we hold too tightly to such things, we find that they are in fact holding on to us and hindering us from pursuing the kingdom of God.
APPLY THE WORD
What earthly goods or status do you most desire? Does your desire hinder you from following Jesus? Pray that God would help you to loosen your grip on anything that might keep you from pursuing His kingdom with your fullest devotion. And give thanks to the God of salvation with whom “all things are possible” (v. 26).
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In addition to giving thanks for my earthly goods, and praying to loose my grip on them, I also am giving thanks today to God for answered prayer. Earlier this month I had an ultrasound that showed a mass in my bladder (Of course, hearing that, we all thought CANCER). The doctor ordered a CT scan to confirm the mass. The results were inconclusive. Yesterday was my appointment with the urologist to get to the bottom of what’s going on “down there.” Friends from far and near prayed for me and for conclusive results and a “fix-it plan.” I felt the love and concern of those prayers. I relaxed, and knew I was in God’s hands. I am ever so grateful for family/friends, their love, and God’s grace. The camera that scoped the bladder revealed NO TUMOR. God is good. All the time!
Yesterday I met Lois Olmstead. She shared her faith journey with me and a group of my friends who are Senior Companions in my part of Montana. I was so inspired by her and her message that I checked out her website today and ordered a couple more copies of her book, EnJOYing the Journey. She is a humorous, genuine, authentic, inspiring Christian lady who has survived breast cancer and has lived to tell her faith story. The sub-title of this one (of three) of her books is, “90 spirit-lifters for the potholes of life.” Check out this link and fall in love with our Lord all over again as you fall in love with “Time Out With Lois.” She has a gift – – – and she shares it so beautifully!