14 Apr 2017

Passion Week: Day 5

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Day 5 (Good Friday): Read Luke 23:1-49.

There are so many interesting things about Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Trumped up charges, proclaimed innocent by a Roman official, mocked by a hostile crowd, deserted by friends, these are just some of the unique things about Jesus’ death. On the cross, Jesus showed remarkable restraint as the religious leaders stand by watching him die. Concern for others and even forgiveness flowed from his lips as he endured. He spoke with clarity and with grace.

Lost in those words on the cross are the words from v. 46, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The words seem factual on the surface but they mean so much more. These words could be easily mistaken as the words of a man who feels his life slipping away. And as such, they would be beautiful words to remember. A faithful son communing with the father one last time before death. But these words are so much more. The words of v. 46 are a decision.

Starting earlier in the week, Judas plots to turn Jesus over to the Sanhedrin. Then, following his last supper and night of prayer, he is whisked away by the religious leaders. He stands trial and then is sent to stand trial again before Pilate. He is flogged and beaten, then sent off to die. At Calvary, he is nailed to the cross for all the watching world to see.

It’s easy to read through all of that and feel like everything was out of Jesus’ control. But it wasn’t. Verse 46 tells us that everything was always in Jesus’ command. Verse 46 tells us that no one “took” Jesus’ life, he gave it freely of his own accord. Verse 46 tells us that all of this was God’s purpose and plan to redeem his people, that it was no accident or confluence of events. No one took anything from Jesus, he gave his life for us.

Now, why would that matter? It matters because salvation is not an accident. It didn’t happen because other forces were stronger than God’s during that period. All of this took place because of Jesus’ love for us. People could not force Jesus to die for us, Jesus chose to die for us. And in that choice, we were redeemed.

  1. How can/should I love Jesus today?

Prayer: Crucified Savior, on this dark day it seems crass and opportunistic to think of your death as an advantage to me. And yet, we call this Friday good because through your death, my old self is crucified, put to death, buried with you, and no longer rules. Today, I dedicate my life as an offering of gratitude to you. Amen. (from Seeking God’s Face)

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