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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Three crosses

"The Three Crosses"

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"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left" (Luke 23:33).

One of the blessings we have often seen as we travel, particularly in the southern states are three white crosses placed up on a hill or mountain that can be seen from the highway as a witness to the landowners' faith. Normally Christians use a single cross as a symbol of their faith but the three crosses also have rich symbolism as a reminder of the three crosses on Mount Calvary.

Jesus hung on the middle cross, vicariously dying for the sins of all mankind. Two criminals, representative of the human race, were hanging on crosses on each side of Him. These three crosses each represent:

The cross of rejection. One criminal represents the masses that to the very end rebel against God and reject His plan of redemption. But rarely is such sneering so openly expressed, and this by a dying man as he hurled insults at Christ. This unnamed criminal is merely expressing the viewpoint of so many who reject God's only remedy for our sin problem. This criminal died in his sins.

The cross of repentance. The other criminal represents those who repent of their sins and place their faith in God. He came to realize that he and the other lawbreaker deserved the death penalty and was quite frank when he spoke: "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41). His faith is humbly expressed in these words: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Our Lord's dying words brought eternal hope to the repentant criminal as well as spiritual hope to millions throughout the centuries, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." This criminal died to sin.

The cross of redemption.  On the middle cross Christ dies once for all time for all people. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" (Ephesians 1:7). "For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:19,20). Peter, a witness to these things, stated, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:18a). Our Saviour died for our sins.

Today is a day of decision. For many it will be a reaffirmation of a decision previously made, for others this is a special day. The cross of redemption was singularly accomplished by Jesus Christ. Are you living your life in rejection of Christ or in repentance, acknowledging that,
"we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41).

This Good Friday let us, through faith with thankful hearts, accept God's only solution for our sin problem. Let us faithfully live for the One who died for us.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for the record in Scripture that makes us more than just curious bystanders during the crucifixion of Your precious Son.  Jesus' recorded conversation with the repentant criminal helps us to see how immediate redemption for all humanity was being provided through His death on the cross. Thoughtful reflecting on this day brings about grief and sadness as we recall the rejection, pain, and suffering Christ underwent. In Luke 22:53 Jesus spoke to those who seized Him in the garden as a time when darkness reigns. Though He was speaking figuratively in the garden the next afternoon literal darkness fell upon the earth as He breathed His final breath. Surely all hope dissipated for those who stood by our Lord as He hung on the cross. But I'm so glad we don't have to wait for the rest of the story to unfold since we know, through Scripture, the final outcome and the way of salvation Christ made possible for us. Thank you, Father, that You loved the world so much that You gave Your one and only Son to die for our sins, that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We call upon the Lord Jesus to save us, cleanse us from our sins, and to indwell our hearts. Amen.



Maundy Thursday Service

Last night we had a moving Maundy Thursday service recalling Christ's sacrificial death for our sins and the events that took place the evening of His betrayal
. A light meal was served followed by Communion, Hymns reflecting the cross, Scripture reading, Prayers and Testimonies. Pastor Jay presented a meditation based on John 13 when Jesus washed His disciples' feet. After the footwashing Jesus commanded them, "Now that, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" as followers of Christ, (John 14,15). Pastor challenged us, to have a servant's heart and to be "People of the Towel".

Ester took several photos that we share with you today. Those participating in the footwashing, whose photo was taken, gave us permission to share with readers.

Maundy Thursday service
The Communion Elements

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
Brooksyne washing and praying over a sister.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
The mutual hug and blessing following the footwashing.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
A grandmother washing her granddaughter's feet while others in the circle sing hymns reflecting Jesus' death on the cross.

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
And now the daughter's turn to serve her mother!

Maundy Thursday service footwashing
Ester looked down the hall into the men's gathering where they held their footwashing and snapped this photo.



Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"And Can It Be That I Should Gain?"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"The Man In The Middle"  Video  The Cupps

"Man In The Middle"  Video 
Wayne Watson

"At The Foot of The Cross"  Video  Kathryn Scott

"Love Held Him To The Cross"  Video   Harvesters Quartet

"When He Was On the Cross"  Video  John Starnes

"It Is Finished"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"The Old Rugged Cross"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"He Was Wounded"  Video



Major Events of the Passion Week

An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God's greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

Sunday      
  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
Monday      
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
Tuesday/Wednesday                   
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
Thursday
  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
Friday
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30
Sunday
  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

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"I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, I have been redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."


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"For God has chosen
the weak things in the world,
the foolish,
the nothings.
That no flesh will glory
in His presence."
1 Corinthians 1:27-29

"Living securely today  anchored in God's solid foundation"