Good? Friday

Here we are, so to speak.  We usually gather together at Westview on this day and share a meal, those delicious soups and breads, then we share the Lord’s Table, and a wonderful time of fellowship.  Since we can’t today, I wanted to reach out and connect, me with you, you with me, all of us with each other, not physically, but together in His word, in His Spirit.  I decided, what better passage than Isaiah 53?

Let’s walk through it together, and fellowship in its light.

Isaiah 53 – Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Isaiah is keenly aware of the seeming contradiction of this message, and anticipates the skepticism it will generate… How strange it must have seemed even to Him, a message of suffering through which the arm of the Lord, meaning his power, is about to be revealed.  It reminds me of 2 Cor 12:9 “for power is perfected in weakness” – what an amazing twist.

2 For He grew up before Him like a tender [a]shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should 
[b]be attracted to Him.

Jesus was born at a time and grew up in a place that was spiritually drained.  The pharisees had virtually replaced the law of God with laws of men, and ushered in a false version of godliness that replaced heart-felt devotion with mundane ritual. And Galilee was a region of political rebellion, cultural snobbishness, and religious laxity.  They were located far from the temple, and the leaders, who were all centered in Jerusalem.  They were very open to Hellenistic, versus Jewish influence.  This led to some of the derision Jesus experienced in mainstream Jewish regions. Add that he did not have the advantage of good looks and pedigree.  His common appearance, demeanor and status were held against him.

Look what happened in John 7:40

40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” 41 Others were saying, “This is [j]the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely [k]the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 

 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. 44 Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

And when Nicodemus weighed in, they turned on him too…

50 Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) *said to them, 51 â€œOur Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” 52 They answered him, “You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” 53 [[l]Everyone went to his home.

Galilee was not the biz when it came to spiritual things as far as the Pharisees were concerned…

3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of 
[c]sorrows and acquainted with [d]grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Then came his ministry, his message, his methods.  All of which flew in the face of leaders, who resented his many challenges of their practices and exposed their evil motivations and ungodly actions.  They hated him and quickly began plotting to kill him because the people were listening to his message of true devotion to God, and eternal life through Himself.  When he explained who he was, the Son of God, that He and the Father are one, they used it to set in motion what would be his last week on earth before his resurrection. He prepared his followers for this, saying the Son of Man must die, but will be raised on the third day. 

Surely our [e]griefs He Himself bore,
And our 
[f]sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
[g]Smitten of God, and afflicted.

Jesus carried the pain of mankind, he had tremendous compassion for us, and spent his ministry showing the way to joy, to victory, to peace, to love – all through obedience to and trust in God.  Humanly, we see how he suffered, not only on the cross, but also in His empathy for our difficulties.  Remember how He wept over Jerusalem in their fallen spiritual condition?

5 But He was [h]pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our 
[i]well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

So the day came, He was arrested, three quick unfair trials, beaten, whipped, and a reluctant, mob-inspired death sentence, and hours of horrible abuse at the hands of his captors and skeptics.  What an amazing statement, the chastening for our well-being fell upon him, and by his scourging we are healed…  we deserved chastening.  We deserved scourging.  But they fell upon him in our place, and through it, we are healed.  Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To 
[j]fall on Him.

We are the reason Jesus died.  All of us.  But it was love that led Him to the cross.  Even though our willful rejection of God created the enmity between us, God Himself spares us, the Father offering His Son, the Son offering His life, and the Spirit empowering His ministry on earth, the entire Godhead, doing everything required to provide a way for us to be reconciled… and it culminated on the day we call Good Friday, certainly not because it was an inherently good day.  It was an awful day, a terrible day, the worst day the world has ever experienced.  And why?  Not only because of how terrible and unfair His death was, but that while on the cross, God caused all of our sins, our iniquities to fall upon His sinless Son, and Jesus accepts it, and suffers the full wrath of God, including separation from His Father, in order to pay for our sins.  

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

If we sum up that day, he silently went through the motions of untrue accusations in those illegal and immoral trials, he was mistreated horribly while in custody, but he quietly endured it all, no complaints, no resistance. 

8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the 
[k]living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

And so they unjustly determine to remove his influence from earth.  Thinking that they had succeeded, cutting Him off, killing Him.  Getting rid of Him.  Imposing this terrible punishment for our transgressions, we to whom this awful stroke was due.

9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Those who inflicted this upon Him sought to bury him among the wicked, the same as they crucified him, between two criminals.  But God had other plans.  He would instead have the honor of the tomb of a rich man, moved by God to properly tend to the body of his Messiah.  Jesus had earned it.  He deserved it.  All the way through even His unfounded unfair death, he did no violence, he uttered no deceit.  He was sinless.

And of course He would be resurrected.

10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, 
[l]putting Him to grief;
If 
[m]He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His 
[n]offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the 
[o]good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

And here we see yet another dichotomy, that the Lord was pleased to crush him and put him to grief, that in the utter suffering of Christ on the cross, God is also pleased to do it.  The Father, pleased to permit the abuse and death of His Son, pleased to unleash his wrath upon His son, as long as He would render Himself a guilt offering, which he did. The guiltless, became a guilt offering for the truly guilty – us!

And how pleased is the Father?  So pleased His reward to Jesus is greater than the cost He paid, He will see His offspring, all of them!  His days prolonged, it doesn’t end on the cross!  And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.  He will receive the fullness of the Father’s pleasure and it will prosper. In other words, whatever Jesus does, it will prosper.  All things are given to Him.  The faithful Messiah.

And the proper response He should have received… 

Philippians 2:9-11

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He will be worshiped.  As he should have been.  Sadly, many of those making that proclamation will be bound for hell because they resisted admitting it until it was too late.

11 As a result of the [p]anguish of His soul,
He will see 
[q]it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

And look, not just the Father.  Jesus too.  Though His anguish ran deep into His soul, imagine, into the very soul of God the Son, that is the degree to which He suffered, He will see the result, and be satisfied.  From anguish in His soul to satisfaction.  Why?  Because now, by knowing Him, by knowing Messiah, by knowing Jesus, who He is, what he taught, what He did, He will justify many.  How?  By bearing their sins.

And what is this satisfaction? It’s like the Father, pleasure.  Joy.

Hebrews 12:2

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Isn’t that amazing… for the joy!  The joy set before Him, He suffered so perfectly, so calmly, so graciously, remember?  Father forgive them, for the know not what they do…  Could it be that day was…good?  Dare we say it?  We dare not except that God Himself has, so how can we not?  God was pleased to do it.  God the Father, pleased.  Jesus, joyful. The Spirit testifying with signs and wonders.

12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out 
[r]Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

Good?  Upon reflection, it seems too trivial a word, doesn’t it?

Astonishing Friday!  Tremendous Friday!  Amazing Friday!

Because He poured out Himself to death…

I don’t think many understand this… 

The word for poured out is arah…

It means to uncover, to leave destitute, to raze, to lay bare by emptying, to entirely empty, to pour out, to utterly expose oneself, to pour oneself entirely out

On the cross, Jesus gave His all, everything He had, there was nothing left, he was empty, no part of Him was withheld.

The word for himself is actually Nephesh – it means soul, self, life, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion – this speaks of that which makes a person be a person.  The essence of the person.

Jesus poured out His soul unto death.  He held nothing back to ensure payment was made in full.  The exact payment we would have been required to make.  No special treatment.  No hesitation.  No self-preservation. 

Stop and think about that for a time… contemplate the sacrifice He made for you, and contemplate what He spared you from.  A suffering that leaves the soul empty…barren.  Completely apart from God.

It is because of this that He is numbered with sinners.  Because He bore the sin of many.  Ultimately He bore every sin of every one who receives Him, who believes in Him, though his sacrifice is sufficient for all, it is not effective for all, only for those believe.

And God rewards His sacrifice.  Look – it’s like the sharing of the spoils of war.  A portion with the great.  So many of those that have been considered great throughout history were men of war.  Alexander the Great comes instantly to mind.  By 32 years of age he had conquered more than any every had or has.  Our heroes are the ones that save us.  And the worst villains are those who caused the most suffering.  I’m sure you’re mind is filling with names.  The great, the infamous.  But God rewards Christ, not for his victory on the field against an opposing country, not saving a nation from another nation, but saving all who call upon him, from himself. 

Mankind’s worst threat is not ourselves, it is not Satan, it is not people who hate us, it is not a virus.  It is a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin.  And no army can defeat him.  He cannot be defeated.  He can, however, be satisfied, and praise his holy name, He is, but only in Jesus Christ, who made it clear when He said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.  What an amazing God who on the one because of our sin is in a sense the enemy of man, but at the same time, a loving and merciful savior, who provides a way to be reconciled.  He saves us from Himself.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, what whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He first interceded for sinners on the cross, making a way back to God, and now He is at the right hand of God, interceding for all who believe.

For we who believe, who have received this amazing mercy, let’s take time today to express our deepest gratitude.  Amen?  I don’t think more needs to be said.  It is the only appropriate response.

For any who have not yet believed, I implore you, be reconciled to God, it only requires believing in His Son Jesus, the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, who left His abode above, emptied Himself of the use of His deity, to become a man and live a sinless life, only to also empty that life and offer it as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.  We need only admit our sin, and our need for His sacrifice that we may change the course of life and follow Him.

And this great salvation happened one day, a Friday, almost 2000 years ago, and now we acknowledge it.

Good Friday… I suppose I can’t fight years of tradition, but…

Have a blessed MAGNIFICENT Friday!

I love and miss you all…

Pastor Dean

2 Replies to “Good? Friday”

  1. AMEN! What a wonderful message of hope, despair, ultimate love, sacrifice, power, and peace!
    The greatest story ever LIVED! Thank God, Almighty!!

    I love and miss you too!
    George

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