What’s so good about Good Friday?

What’s so good about someone dying?
What’s so good about being nailed on a cross?
What’s so good about being humiliated in front of hundreds, if not, thousands?

I met Tim the other day. He didn’t grow up religious and never went to church. But as I’ve realized through the years, the gospel is the most logical solution to the problem of sin.

Good works won’t work because we’ll never know how much is enough to make it.
Punishing ourselves won’t work because we can only tolerate pain up to a certain extent and give up before it’s ever enough.
Merely saying sorry is also not enough for a holy and just God requires payment for the penalty of sin.

When the first Good Friday happened, Jesus declared in Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why did Jesus feel forsaken by the Father?

It was at that circumstance that all of the sin of mankind was placed on Him. “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus felt forsaken for at that moment, it seemed that there was a separation from the Father for sin cannot be in the same presence of a holy and rigtheous God.

Thus, to the person who trusts Christ for salvation experiences a miracle. Our unrighteousness was placed on Christ and His righteousness placed upon us. This work of imputation is nothing short of miraculous. At that particular time, the greatest exchange happened – an unfair yet amazing one.

All these I explained to Tim. His response?
“Wow, it all make sense to me now! This is indeed good news! In fact, it’s great news! My sin upon Him and His righteousness upon me. Who doesn’t want that? Quite an amazing deal if you’d ask me.”

As a result, after an understanding of the gospel of Jesus, he responds by turning away from sin and fully surrendering his life to Christ as his Lord and Savior.

And to all who hasn’t surrendered their lives yet, today can be your day of salvation. What’s so good about Good Friday? His death provided a way for us to gain life. The Great Exchange occurred on Good Friday – His righteousness upon us and all our unrighteousness upon Him as we respond in faith by trusting Christ for our salvation.

If this is the desire of your hear, you can pray this prayer by faith, receive His forgiveness and experience the new life He offers to everyone who believes:

Lord, thank You for coming to die on the cross. I understand that You died so that the penalty of sin can be paid for. I repent from all my sins and trust Christ for forgiveness. He died so that I may have life. Today, I respond to His love for me. I surrender my past, my sins, my unrighteousness and by faith receive the righteousness of Christ offered to me through His work in Calvary. Help me to live for you from this day forward, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life that would please and honor God. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

A couple of months ago, our youngest Joaquin wanted to go ice skating in one of the malls in the city. It wasn’t his first at it but I do remember the first time he tried. He held my hand most of the time and experienced a couple of slips and falls.

This time around, he still needed some help from daddy but mostly he was on his own. What a joy to see his skate!

While our goal is for our kids to become less dependent on us, we want them to become more dependent on God as they grow older. I’ve blogged about this in the past. You may read it here.

But at the same breath, as children of God, we mature and grow in our faith. However, the goal is not to become more and more independent from God. In fact, the more mature you become, the more dependent you become on Him. It’s actually the other way around. You depend on His Word. You depend on His ways. You depend on the directive of His Holy Spirit.

The more we mature in the faith, the more dependent we are to become on Him.

Question: What are some of the areas in our lives that we’ve operated in independent of Christ?

In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Apart from Jesus, we can accomplish nothing.
And apart from Jesus, we are nothing.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that reminds us that You are our Source. You are the vine and we are the branches. Without being connected to You, we have no real life. Help us scan our day and scan our lives to see what areas we seem to operate in without relying on You and Your grace. And when we see it, help us to revert to You for You are able to order our steps and that if we acknowledge You in all our ways, You will direct our path. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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What’s so special about Mandy Thursday? I understand Friday for that’s when Jesus was crucified. Saturday was when Jesus was in the grave. As for Sunday, it was the greatest event in all of human history.

What happened on Thursday? And why’s so “maundy” about it?

Maundy comes from the Latin word where we derive the word ‘mandate’. It was a day where a command was given by Jesus. It was on the night before he was betrayed where He took the cup and the bread, blessed and gave thanks to share the meal with His disciples.

It was during the meal that Jesus took a basin of water, wrapped a towel around His waist and started to wash the disciples feet. So what was the “mandate” that made Thursday Maundy?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

What He did (washing the feet of his disciples) preceded what He said (love one another).

It was a powerful moment for if He only told them what they needed to do, they would most likely obey but the impact wouldn’t be as intense and compelling.

If their Master could serve them the way He did, how much more can they do the same to others?

His command to love one another is an overflow of the love we have received.
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

REFLECTION APPLICATION:

1. Pray to Jesus now and thank Him for His sacrificial love to take our place on the cross for He died on our behalf. He paid the debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.

2. Pray for someone now to know Christ personally as their Lord and Savior (family member, friend, officemate, classmate).

3. Text that person a verse to encourage and reflect on what Jesus did on the cross.

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A father was tucking his son to sleep. After the lights were turned off, the son asked his dad to stay a bit longer with him.
To comfort his son, the father said, “Son, God is here and is always with you.”
To this, the little boy replied, “Yes. But I want someone with skin.”

Right before the turning point of history – from BC to AD, God had manifested His presence in various ways. While His people were in the desert, it was through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
When they entered the promised land, God manifested and rested His presence in the temple.
But right at the central point of history, at the fullness of time, as Paul said in Galatians, God sent His Son as a full manifestation of His divine presence.

Paul wrote the church in Colossae saying, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)

“Image” implies representation and manifestation. Jesus was representing the Father. But not only did Jesus represent His Father, He Himself was God. He declared, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

How significant was this for you and me?

First and foremost, it meant our salvation. Through Christ, we are redeemed because of His atoning sacrifice at Calvary.

At the same breath, He is not just for us, He is also with us – “Immanuel.”

Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.”

As you go through life, fear may strike. At times, frustrations may hit you. Furthermore, testings and trials may come your way unexpectedly. But the assurance of His presence as we go through them assures us that we are not alone. He is for us and not against us. He will never leave nor forsake. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Humility is an interesting trait.

Once you claim you have it, you’ve actually lost it.

Some have an aversion to this trait.

Number 1, it is because we all have an “I” problem. We all struggle with pride in some shape or form. Admit it.

If you don’t agree, consider this. Notice who you usually look at first when there’s a group picture with you in it.

Another reason is that humility may be perceived as weak, insignificant, and subservient. We live in a world that wants to dominate. And being humble may look as if you are not in control.

In John 13, Jesus exemplifies servant leadership. This is where we see humility at its finest.

What made Jesus an amazing leader?

1. CLARITY OF PURPOSE

Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. (John 13:1)

It was clear to Him why He came and who He came for.

He made a declaration to His disciples, “I came not to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

When a leader is clear on the purpose of his leadership, the focus is then taken off from self.

It doesn’t become about you. The goal is to serve the purpose.

It doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as the job gets done.

2. CONFIDENCE IN IDENTITY

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. (John 13:3)

Jesus had all power and all authority.

Because He knew who He was, there was no pressure to prove Himself.

Insecure leaders are usually people who don’t know who they are called to be and what they are designed to do.

Jesus was secure in His identity. He knew who He was.

It is identity that establishes security.

I love what C.S. Lewis said,
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Lord, help us to lead with a clear purpose and being confident in our identity in Christ.