Find a place to be alone and undistracted. Allow yourself 20-30 minutes with God.
The fact that Jesus of Nazareth was executed on a cross is pretty much the one thing that everybody who has heard of him knows about his life. It's the one part of his life that almost all historians agree on. And his death on a Roman cross is what we commemorate on Good Friday. This historical event has special meaning to us as disciples. His death goes deeper than merely the end of the life of the one whom we consider to be the most important person in history. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was more than just a great preacher with good and true teachings; He was the only Son of God. And He was not just the only Son of God, but God Himself. We believe that God is the impossibly transcendent source of all that exists, seen and unseen. God is so transcendent that he cannot even be said to "exist" in the common sense, the way you and I exist — rather, God IS the very nature of being itself, and sustains all existence. We believe that this impossibly transcendent God died. He suffered horribly and was killed by some unnamed Roman soldiers. It makes absolutely no sense. How could the giver and sustainer of all life and existence experience death? Even though we don’t fully understand this, we Christians believe this. So how do we explain the inherent contradiction?
Tim Keller states:
Every other world religion was founded by a man who said, "Follow me, and you can find God"; Christianity is the only religion that was founded by a man who said, "I'm God, come to find you."
Because the very nature of God is to love, He is compelled by His nature to come find us, His own creatures who became lost. According to God's seemingly-bizarre, otherworldly logic, the way to "come find us” was to embrace and experience what is most bitter about human experience: suffering, agony, loss, death. The cross became a Christian symbol in part because of bravado. The worst punishment of the Roman Empire was the cross, and the Christians held it up to their tormenters, essentially saying: "We're not afraid of you." But mostly, the cross is the symbol for Christians because it represents this unique conception of God: a God who is not just the source of everything, but a God who loves his creatures so much that he is willing to do anything to save them.
For additional contemplation on the death of Jesus, read through Luke 22 and 23.
Go back and re-read Luke 23: 33-49 as if you are a character in this story, perhaps one of the thieves or an acquaintance of Jesus observing from a short distance, or maybe a relative. Pay attention to the sights and sounds; what do you hear, see and feel?
After re-reading Luke 23: 33-49 a time or two, talk to Jesus on the cross. What do you want to say to Him?
Written by Pastor and Elder Al Rockman. Al left this earth for heaven on March 28, and submitted this piece that afternoon.
Join us for Good Friday service at 6:00 pm on April 14. We will remember Jesus’ death and share communion together.
Come celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 16 at 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am. (Interpretation for the Deaf and hard of hearing at 8:00 am. At 9:30 am and 11:00 am, there will be Son Harbor for children ages infants – 5th grade.)