Good Friday – April 19th So that we may dwell in the Father’s Place
Vicar Shaun Manning
17 So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol′gotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
God who creates, gives life and is life, is now being lead to a place which represents death and where he will suffer death. The One who built with wood and nails as a carpenter’s son, was about to be crucified with these same tools – wood and nails.
It is of comfort when we know someone who has experienced sufferings as we have. If a sinful human being and their experience can bring us comfort, what about the Divine? In Christ, the God of the universe has experienced human devastation and the tragedy of the fallen world we live in.
What did He do to be crucified? What crime did He commit to suffer such a death?
If he was guilty of anything it was unfathomable love. Love that fulfilled the Lord’s promises of old and becoming sin, experiencing death and despair. Despair that led him to feel abandoned by His Heavenly Father.
It is easy to read this account and forget that the man who is bearing this cross and is crucified with criminals is the Divine Son of God.
Jesus is in the centre of the three, and symbolically this makes sense, for His death is the most significant death of all time. Having a mocking sinner on one side and a repentant one on the other.
19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
Did Pilate know and believe Jesus’ claim? We can’t be exactly sure but it does appear so, or at least that He was used by God to inscribe this.
It was inscribed in all spoken languages of the time and place. Perhaps symbolic to the fact that He is king to all and Lord of all.
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also, his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture,
“They parted my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag′dalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so, they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Overview of fulfilment:
Crucified on Golgotha with inscription
In all spoken languages of the time and place. Perhaps symbolic to the fact that He is king to all and Lord of all. And through the Great Commission this would be actualized by “making disciples of all nations”.
Garments and tunic is distributed (to fulfil scripture)
Four parts. Imagine how you would feel as His mother or His friend that they in the last hour they are dividing His clothing. It’ll be like arguing over inheritance in the hospital room whilst the person is dying, but even worse it is strangers doing so.
Mention of all three Mary’s, and His command to mother and beloved disciple.
Fulfilling and giving commands in the midst of agony. Even in the midst of His crucifixion He is concerned for the welfare of His mother … the fourth commandment, a commandment in which I struggle with personally, was fulfilled by Christ in His earthly life where He honoured His earthly parents as well as His Heavenly Father … He was also concerned for His beloved disciple. Fulfilling another commandment which He gave in His earthly to love the Lord your God with everything and your neighbour as yourself … even the night before, love another as I have loved you.
“Mother behold your son”… Some have interpreted this as calling His mother to take care of all disciples for Mary would’ve played a motherly role to the early disciples (think of Luke’s Gospel).
And finally …
“I thirst” (to fulfil scripture), vinegar (also scripture Psalm 69:21); “it is finished” and bows His head and gives up His spirit.
Fulfilling Scripture? Commitment to His promises at all costs.
The Lawgiver Himself is fulfilling the Law and all the prophets. “I will be your God and you will be my people”. How? Through Christ … He is the One who not only is Divine but represents you to the Divine, the very mortal one sitting in the pew this morning.
The Law, Prophets and the Psalter anticipated this man … who comes because He needs to come. There is no other way to buy you back but to fulfil the promises and scripture He has given since the beginning of time.
The ramifications of “it is finished” and the salvation it has achieved spills on into your devastation and despair of life. Despair, depression, devastation, darkness and the devil’s use of such things has been entered into and crushed. Crushed by Christ’s fulfilment of Scripture. The fulfilment to bring you to a place where there will be no fears, tears or heartache. And He brought you into this life with His Father both now and for eternity by experiencing fears, tears and heartache and more.
This is who God is, this is who your Saviour is. He is a promise keeping God and nothing can stop Him from keeping them. Even death. In fact, it may even cost bloodshed for Him to fulfil His promises, and it did.
I finish with the words of a beautiful song which reflects on the Lord’s death…
O humble carpenter, down on your hands and knees,
look on your handiwork and build a house so you may dwell in Me.
The work was done with nothing but wood and nails in Your scar-borne hands
O show me how to work and praise trusting that I am Your instrument.
O loving labourer with the sweat upon your face,
oh, build a table that I too may join you in the Father’s place
oh, in the Father’s place!
So may this Carpenter bring you peace this Good Friday in His death, dying the death we deserved on the wooden cross. He did this so that you may dwell in the Father’s place with Him.
May He keep your hearts and minds safe in Him this Holy weekend and evermore until you meet Him in Paradise.