Good Friday – His Death for My Life

 

How can the anniversary of the death of a Good and Innocent Man be celebrated by calling it Good Friday.

The Cross- The Symbol of Good Friday

Crucifixion was a most barbaric form of execution and reserved for criminals at that time.

When we investigate the reason for His death on Good Friday and what it achieved, perhaps we can understand.

We need to go back in history to the beginning of time.

 

In the Beginning

God created a beautiful and perfect world.  His crowning achievement in creation was Man. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; Male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27 Holy Bible, New Living Translation)

God gave Adam complete control over His creation.

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.  And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! (Gen 2:15-17 Holy Bible, New Living Translation).

 There was one thing God told Adam that he should not do.

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2:15-17 Holy Bible, New Living Translation)

Adam and Eve thought they knew better than God!  They chose not to obey.

God’s perfect creation was corrupted. The perfect relationship that Adam and Eve had with God was broken; there was immediate alienation from God.  By this act, “Sin” entered this world.

The result is the misery and mayhem we see all around us today. Instead of listening to the wisdom of their Creator, men and women are still pleasing themselves and even denying the existence of God.

 

God’s Plan to Restore the Relationship

However, even back then, God had a plan to bring mankind back into the right relationship with Himself

God promised that He would send a “Saviour”

The whole of the Old Testament has been referred to as “The Unfolding Drama of Redemption”. It tells of God’s dealings with “The Children of Israel”. At times His patience was stretched to the limit by their behaviour. Yet He never lost sight of His goal; to redeem mankind.

43774: The Unfolding Drama of Redemption The Unfolding Drama of RedemptionBy W. Graham Scroggie / Kregel Publications

Get your front row seats now for the greatest drama ever—God’s plan of salvation for humanity! Organized like a dramatic play, this classic traces the theme of redemption through each book of the Bible with careful scholarship and a thorough analysis of its content and history. 1413 pages in three ”acts,” hardcover from Kregel.

The word Redemption is not only a theological term. We are well aware of what a ransom is. Our news papers often have stories of people making ransom demands.

The Oxford dictionary defines “redemption”:

  • to buy back,
  • recover by expenditure of effort or by stipulated payment,
  • purchase the freedom of another,
  • save (person’s life) by ransom,
  • make amends for.

As part of that redemption plan, God introduced the practice of animal sacrifice, to His people the Jews, as a way of making  atonement for their sins. But this was only a “shadow of things to come”. Eventually animal sacrifices would end.

 

Jesus the Ultimate Sacrifice

The Old Testament contains very many references to the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, His suffering and His death to be the “Saviour of the World”.

The Old Testament book of Isaiah, Chapter 53 spells this out in great detail yet it was written over 700 years before Christ was born.

“But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed-and we were healed! 

We-every one of us-have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own, Yet God, laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us!

 He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he stood silent before the ones condemning him. 

From prison and trial they led him away to his death”.  (Isaiah 53:5-8 Living Bible translation)

Prophecies of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

The death of Christ is mentioned directly more than 175 times in the New Testament

“The purpose of His birth was that He might die. Jesus Christ’s death was not a mere incident in His life; it was the supreme purpose of it. He became man in order that He might die as a man and for man.

Jesus Christ gave His life as a ransom. His death was the price paid to redeem others from death”.

This is the reason we refer to the Day as Good Friday! It was not the event of His death, but the purpose and what it achieved.

As you ponder the events of Good Friday and you enjoy the Easter holiday time, consider what we celebrate. Yes it is a “celebration”

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.”  (John 3:16-17 TLB)

If you have not made this a personal decision, to ask His forgiveness and be restored as a member of His family, then I urge you to do so.

You’re Spiritual Health and future depends on it.

 

 

To the disciples, Good Friday may have seemed the end of their dreams, but remember, “Sundays a-comin’ “.

http://youtu.be/YByT6wfdhJs

 

See My next post on The Resurrection -Hoax or History

Doctor Bill

 

Maundy Thursday – The Last Supper & Betrayal of Jesus

 

Maundy Thursday

 What is this Day with the strange-sounding name and what does it mean?

I must admit, that I had never heard the name until well into my adult life, even though I had “grown up” in the church. I do not remember hearing it mentioned in my denomination.

 

The Origin of Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday is the day before the three-day Easter Celebration in the Christian Church, which begins on Good Friday.

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning “a commandment”.

The commandment referred to here is the one given by Jesus to His Disciples during the Last Supper.

“ I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another: just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another” (John 13:34 Amplified Translation)

Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday.

In Germany, Maundy Thursday was also known as “Green Thursday”. This had nothing to do with the colour green (gruen), but because of the similarity to the German word for “grief” (Gram). Many German families would eat only green leafy vegetables as a way of showing humility on this day.

 

Why is Maundy Thursday so important to Christians?

Passover was due to begin the next day, the 15th day of Nissan in the Jewish Calendar. This was and still is, an important day in the Jewish Religion.

Passover was a commemoration of the event which occurred when the Children of Israel were slaves under Pharaoh in Egypt. God had warned everyone in Egypt that the first-born of every creature would die unless blood was painted on the lintel and side posts of the doors to their homes. The Israelites escaped death because they followed God’s instructions. You can read about this in the Old Testament section of the Christian Bible. (Exodus:12)

Jesus wanted to have a meal to celebrate this event with His disciples. This became known as the Last Supper. During the meal Jesus took bread, which He broke it into pieces and wine and shared them with His disciples. He instructed them to do the same whenever they met.

He said that the bread represented his body which was going to be beaten and the wine represented the blood that was going to be spilt when He was killed the next day. (Matthew 26: 26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20

The Last Supper – Leonardo da Vinci

This was the beginning of what is known as The Eucharist to Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox and The Lord’s Supper or Communion in other  Protestant Churches.

 

Other Ceremonies on Maundy Thursday.  

Washing the Disciples Feet

At the Last Supper, Jesus taught His disciples many things. One of those was the example of “servant hood”

Jesus took a bowl of water and towel and washed and dried the feet of His disciples. They had been arguing about who was going to be the greatest in His Kingdom. He showed by example; to be great you had to serve. ( John 13:4-17)

 

Jesus Washes Feet of Disciples

On Maundy Thursday, in Roman Catholic Churches particularly, the priest washes the feet of twelve male parishioners as representative of the twelve apostles . In Rome the Pope washes the feet of twelve selected Cardinals.

 In England until 1689, this act was followed literally, when the King or Queen would wash the feet of the poor in Westminster Abbey. Food and clothing were also given to the poor. This was done to remind kings and rulers that, in their privileged  position, they had a responsibility to serve their subjects. This is a lesson that could be learned anew in our modern society.

Consecration of the Holy Oil

In Roman Catholic churches the “Holy Oil” used for the next year’s services and ceremonies is consecrated.

Tenebrae Service.

Although originally meant for Good Friday, some churches conduct a Tenebrae Service on Maundy Thursday evening. The word “tenebrae” is Latin for “shadows”.

The service is a solemn one, for it’s purpose is to recreate the emotional aspects of the Easter story, such as the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, and His abandonment by His disciples.

It begins with the church candlelit. During the service, the candles are gradually extinguished until the church is in darkness, save light from what is known as the Christ Candle. Then after a reading from Psalm 22, that candle is also extinguished, but later re-lit. Here the service ends because the climax of the story  is the Resurrection on Easter Sunday

Maundy Money

Beginning in England in the 13th century during reign of Edward I,  Maundy Money was given to the poor.

Every year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, attends a Maundy Service in one of the many cathedrals scattered around Britain. “Maundy Money” is given to selected pensioners from the local community near the Cathedral. They are chosen in recognition of their service to the church or the community

The Maundy Money is given out in red and white leather pouches. The money in the red pouch is instead of food and clothing and is the normal “coin of the realm”. The coins in the white pouches are the specially minted Maundy Coins.

From the 15th century, it has been traditional to give coins in the white pouch, related to the years of the Sovereign’s life. As she turned 85 last year, I assume the value of the coins will be 85p this year.

Queen Elizabeth II Giving Maundy Money

Yoemen of Guard Carrying Maundy Money

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

This day with the strange name, Maundy Thursday, teaches us many lessons.

  • We are to show the same unselfish love to our fellow-man, as that demonstrated by Jesus to His disciples.
  • If we aspire to greatness, then we need to have a “servant heart”.
  • Jesus called His disciples His ” friends”. He wants us also to be called His friends. Jesus made this possible by the ultimate sacrifice , “His Life “

            “For greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15.13)

  • Whether we will be counted among His friends, requires a personal decision by each of us.

 

Tomorrow is Good Friday; the day we remember that sacrifice. He died a horrible death on the Cross. An innocent and good  Man, paid the penalty for our sins.

But that was not the end of the story. Remember, ” Sunday’s a-comin’ “.

Doctor Bill

 

Other Posts in the series:

The Season of Lent: Tradition, Reflection and Renewal

Palm Sunday- The Triumphal Entry

Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs or Jesus

The Resurrection: Hoax or History