Good Friday

Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions;he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and with his wounds we are healed.”

            Today we remember again the death of the one who loves us and gave everything for us. Betrayed by His friends and followers, first Judas, then the rest, even Peter three times disowning Him; betrayed and condemned by the Jews and their leaders, those who had waited for His coming for many years and generations; flogged and crucified by those He had come to save. This is your king, crowned on His wooden throne, for all the world to see His power. But we still see a naked man torn and bleeding, dying on that cross; He who had given so much, bread to the 5000, healing throughout Judah, even raising the dead, now himself dying. As Isaiah said 700 years before, we consider him punished, struck down and afflicted by God.

            But God’s word is certain, He spoke the world into being and continues to sustain all creation, the world has not ended yet. Isn’t it amazing that He gave those words to the Israelites 700 years before it happened. And even before that, David sung of the coming Messiah, even telling of how He would suffer, how His clothes would be divided (Psalm 22). God’s Word and promise was true and sure for Isaiah and the Kingdom of Judah, and for David and the United Kingdom of Israel, even though they did not see it. These and the other prophets, speakers of God’s Word, were desperately waiting and looking forward to the fulfilment of God Almighty’s promise (1 Peter 1:10-12). They had a glimpse of what was to come, and they faithfully pointed forward to the wonders and marvels that God would do for all people in Jesus Christ. And today we again remember that wonder, that marvel, that Christ Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, was afflicted and killed, pierced for your transgressions, crushed for your corruption. Struck down, He bore all your sins, took your guilt and shame, the sickness of sin that all people are born with, that desire to go our own way, away for life and toward our destruction. Jesus took all that onto Himself, He died and with Him died your sin and guilt, upon Him was the punishment that brought you peace, and with His wounds you are healed. These are the sure words of God, they will not pass away even 2000 years after Jesus said, ‘it is finished’, even still now, with His wounds you are healed.

            We who trust His words, who follow Him in the only way to life, we remember today, but also every time we see the cross, or the crucifix, this deathly event. But don’t forget what Christ’s death means for you, for me and for all people, whoever believes will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Don’t forget the wonder of God’s Word coming to fruition, like a flower finally blooming, this is the event that all God’s people look to, both before and after; it is right to date our calendar back to the life of Jesus, this is the focal point of all creation, time and space. We everyday battle against the desire to focus on other things, to live for work, family, power, wealth, even ourselves, and not live with Jesus; to go our own way. But it is not your boss who gives you life, your strength cannot heal you, money does not take your sin away and destroy it, only in Jesus are you safe and free from the destruction you bring on yourself. But there, Jesus enthroned on the cross, there all our sin, our evil, is dealt with, and God frees you and me, freely He gives peace, joy and love, even counting us righteous, forgetting every one of our betrayals and restoring you and me to the wonderfully merciful, just and loving arms of our Heavenly Father, with Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

            By His wounds you are healed.

And the peace which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, crowned on the cross. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.