A Meditation for Good Friday

29 Mar

These are the words of Jesus as recorded in John’s Gospel, chapter 14, verse 15:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Jesus calls those who love Him to keep His commandments.  And what are His commandments?  1 John 3:23 says that God’s commandment is that “we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”  Believe and love.

And yet, more often than we’d like to probably admit, we fail to do this.  We doubt God, we question His ways, and we show love capriciously.  Content to be good people, we ignore the tough words of Jesus and the apostolic writers that threaten our way of life.  Fear and pride prevent us from trusting God and doing what He has called us to.

Love your enemies.  Really?  Have you met my co-workers?  Do you know how poor our government officials are?  Have you lived next door to my neighbors?  Be united as believers.  But they are wrong, and we are right.  It should be done this way, not that.  Be willing to associate with the lowly?  But they’re different, and that’s a dangerous part of town anyway.  Provide for your brothers and sister’s in Christ.  Share the Gospel.  Give generously to the poor.  Care for widows and orphans.  And there are many others.

For each one of us, there are ways that we justify willfully ignoring various commands that God has given to us, and in doing so, we fail to glorify Him and make His Son known to those around us.

However, even though these things are true, there is hope.  It is the beauty of the cross.  It is why I can call the day on which Jesus Christ was savagely killed, “Good Friday.”  Because, despite the fact that we so often fail to believe and love, Jesus showed His love for us by dying on the cross and suffering the wrath of God in our place for our sins.  We receive mercy.  We receive forgiveness.  We receive reconciliation.  And all of it comes at the expense of Christ’s blood, shed for us; Nails driven through His hands, a spear run through His side, and the judgment for sin upon His head.

The beauty of the cross is such that it daily provides us with motivation for believing and loving.  Because He first loved us, we are able to love Him, one another, and the lost people of this world. Since we have been shown mercy and grace, we can show mercy and grace.  The generosity of God towards us spurs on our generosity to others.  Because of Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, nothing can separate us from the love of God, and thus, we can boldly seek to do all the things He has called us to, no matter the consequences.  Love and believe.

The beauty of the cross is such that we are declared righteous and holy in Christ.  And not only this, but because of His atoning work on our behalf, we who are found in Him will one day actually be made these things: righteous and holy.  We will be conformed to the image of Christ, holy as the Lord our God is holy.

You see, the beauty of the cross is that it most fully displays the glory of the grace of God, and it is the source of our supreme hope and joy.  Christian, let this comfort you, strengthen you, and embolden you as we, together, seek to do all that we have been called to as God’s people.  And if you are not a Christian, this is the Good News—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—and you can either receive it in faith or reject it.  I pray that you might come to trust in the Lord of All, who has done so much to bring His people back to God.

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