Friday, April 18, 2014

Faithful Fridays ~ Good Friday.

Hi, everyone!  I hope you're having a good Easter weekend!  :)

Faithful Fridays is a weekly linky party hosted on my blog. I made it so that Christians could have one special day out of the week (Friday) to share something from their walk with Jesus on their blog. If you'd like to participate, write your post, grab the button from the Faithful Fridays page on my blog (so that it will link back here), and come link up at the bottom of this post! :)

"Good Friday was the worst Friday until Sunday."
-Mike Donehey

This really struck a chord with me today.  Because on this day about 2,000 years ago, a group of disciples and followers of Jesus, people who loved Him and trusted Him dearly, were in the depths of despair.  It seemed as if all was lost.  It seemed as if God had failed them.  I imagine they felt let down, and immensely disappointed.  They probably felt like the ground had been snatched up from under them.  Their Jesus, the one they believed to be the Son of God, had been brutally tortured.  He had been beaten bloody, executed, mocked, betrayed, forsaken.  He had been killed, and buried, cold and dead, in a tomb, a heavy bolder rolled in front.  So seemingly final, and permanent.  It must have seemed like all their hope was buried with it. 
"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.  A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming.  He will abandon the sheep because they don't belong to him and he isn't their shepherd.  And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.  The hired hand runs away because he's working only for the money and doesn't really care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father.  So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold.  I must bring them also.  They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.  The father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.  No one can take my life from me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what my Father has commanded."
-John 10:10-18 

But little did those around know that in just three days, their doubts would be wiped away, their faith in this great Jesus confirmed.  They didn't realize then that God was about to show His mighty power clearly in His Son, by raising Him from that cold, dark finality of death that sin brought on.  They didn't realize that when Jesus cried out, "It is finished," He meant it.  He meant that in Him, sin and death no longer hold power over us--He meant that with His resurrection, He had conquered it, and in Him, we are free, and we are conquers ourselves, through Him who loved us!  And when that temple curtain split in two--the curtain that divided people from the inner presence of God--He was showing us that separation from God no longer exists.  We're face-to-face with Love Himself!  He will give His Spirit to us, God alive in us, living and moving and working in us!  He was showing us that the chasm between God and sin-stained man had been bridged--forever.  From that moment on we no longer had to worry about being fit for God.  By simply placing our trust in Jesus and laying ourselves at His feet, with all our sins and shortcomings and weaknesses and doubts and failures, we were made fit for Him.  Because He loved us.  He didn't need us.  He didn't have to sacrifice Himself, but He did.  He chose to.  He chose us.  He knew us, long before we were born.  He wanted us.  He loved us.  He pursued us.  He had a crazy love for us.  

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."
-John 15:16
No, the disciples didn't know all of this then, but they soon would find out.  They would find out that despite their doubts and their despair and the darkness that had seemed to overcome, God would show His power.  He wouldn't leave them in the darkness.  He wouldn't go back on His word.  He would keep His promises.  He would restore.  He would show that He always does what He says He'll do.  God is love, and "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."  (1 Corinthians 13:7.)
When Jesus cried out, "It is finished," He was also showing that yes, sin and death are finished.  They're conquered.  He's brought life--real, lasting, eternal life, for anyone to take up in Him.  And He was showing that yes, separation from God and being at odds with Him was finished.  Completely.  We can now boldly approach His throne to receive His mercy and find grace to help us when we need it most.  And I'm so very, very thankful for that.   And when Jesus said, "It is finished," He was also showing me that He's not finished with me yet.  I am not my own; I have been made new!  I am a new creation in Jesus, and He is always doing a new thing.  Whatever I'm facing or struggling with, whatever storm or trial or doubt or weakness or test--He's not finished with me yet!
No surrender, no retreat
We are free and we're redeemed
We will declare, over despair
You are the hope!
"'I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"
-John 15:9-11
You bled Your heart out,
Now I feel love beat in my chest.
How wonderful!
You gave Your beauty
In exchange for my ugliness.
How wonderful!
You left Your perfection,
And embraced our rejection!
You put on our chains,
Sent us out through the open door. 
How wonderful!
You took our sadness,
Crowned us with joy and real peace,
How wonderful!
You left Your perfection,
And fought for our redemption!
How marvelous, how boundless
Is Your love, is Your love for me!
How wonderful, sacrifical is Your love for me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
How wonderful!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
This is love,
You gave Yourself!
How marvelous, how boundless
Is Your love, is Your love for me!
How wonderful, sacrificial is Your love for me!
-"You Bled," Rend Collective
Jesus left His perfection, His spotlessness and joy in perfect purity in Heaven with the Father, and came down to be humbled as a man, a mere human, born to a poor family in a stable, amongst the animals, in an animal's food trough, a manger.  Because He. Loved. Us.  He grew up, ordinary, passed over, human.  He faced temptation just as the rest of us did.  But He never sinned; He was perfect.  Because He. Loved. Us.  He embraced the deepest "sinners," the ones that the religious ones scoffed at and looked down on and rejected.  He washed dirty feet.  He came not to be served, but to serve, even though He was the Son of God and should have been served and worshiped completely.  He endured brutal torture and death and mockery and being betrayed and forsaken and executed, crucified, so that He could rip that curtain between us and God, because He. Loved. Us.  He exchanged the life He had for the death that was ingrained in us, because He. Loved. Us.  He freed us to live in Him, Because He. Loved. Us.  He left His perfection and embraced our rejection--our rejection of Him, and the rejection that He should have had for us.  Because He. Loved. Us.  And He rose and conquered sin and death once and for all, because He. Loved. Us.
"The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,

    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him. 
He was beaten, he was tortured,

    but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
    and like a sheep being sheared,
    he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
    and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
    beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
    threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
    or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,

    to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,

    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep."
-Isaiah 53
This Easter, Lord, thank you. 


Jazzmin said...

Amazing post, Joy! Such a blessing and joy to read this and it is so perfect as a reminder of this holy week and what our incredible Savior did on our behalf.
I love that you mentioned the account when He said "it is finished". So much meaning in those three words, reminding us forever of the precious ransom. You always share the best quotes also- what an amazing quote by R.C. Sproul.

Enjoyed your FF as I always do :)

God Bless you and have a great weekend!

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