Freetext – Good Friday, next to Jesus

Good Friday

Next to Jesus- Mary and Joseph

Reading: Luke 1:26–38

His name was Jesus, a name given by God to Joseph and Mary.  They knew that it pointed to Jesus’ destiny because it meant, “God saves” or “he will save.”  The name given shortly after His birth was very much like the cheer shouted at Jesus on Palm Sunday, “hosanna” or “save us, we beg you.”  The baby, the God become man, but much more than that, God become a servant begins here in the outdoors, just as Jesus’ life ends, outdoors in the elements, unprotected.  For a savior who would have no place to lay his head, he finds shelter at his beginning in a cave and at his end he finds death on a hill, only a few miles from his birthplace.  As people gather birth pictures at the funeral of a loved one, we see the ‘birth pictures of Jesus the Christ child.  Next to Jesus in these pictures we find a picture of Jesus’ blended family, his mother Mary and his step-father Joseph.

Next to Jesus: God the Father

Reading: John 13:3–20

“I must do the will of my Father” was the role of the servant, Jesus placed Himself under the will of the Father in heaven.  It was the eternity that Jesus left to live among us that also drove Him in His desire to return to be with His Father in heaven.  The Father’s will was to save us from our sin, to have us back as His children again and so Jesus followed His Father’s will.  Jesus desired to be next to His Father again, sitting at His right hand, and so with the cross before Him Jesus served those around him, casting out their demons, healing their diseases, conquering their fears, forgiving their sins, even washing their feet until God’s will lead Him to His final act of obedience, death on the cross.

Next to Jesus: James and John?

Reading: Mark 10:31–45

Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?  This was the question put to James and John when they asked for the seats next to Jesus.  They wanted to be at His right and left even though Jesus had just given them a clear picture of His coming death.  Can you drink the cup of suffering?  “We are able!” was their response, I don’t think they understand. Many certainly have had painful and tortuous deaths but just the drinking of this cup was not all there was to this offer, the one who drinks the cup makes all the difference, the one who is without sin, who is without guilt, who should never have to drink that cup, drinks it.  James and John will suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ, but only the suffering of the innocent and willing Jesus saves us from our sins.

Next to Jesus: Moses and Elijah

Reading: Luke 9:23–36

This is the turning point, Jesus it about to turn His face toward the cross.  This is the beginning of the end, from now on His eyes point to Jerusalem, the cross loams ahead.  Next to Jesus we find not the living but those who have already left this life – Moses and Elijah.  Moses, the great lawgiver, whose law always always left people in sin, left people in need of God’s action and God’s grace, stood next to Jesus.  Elijah, the prophet, who calls God’s people to repentance, to return to the Lord, stood next to Jesus.  They talked with Jesus about his departure or more clearly from the original text, Jesus’ exodus. His leaving from this world that will bring His people to the promised land.  Moses, Elijah and Jesus speak of the cross.

Next to Jesus: John and Judas?

Reading: Luke 22:14–34

Next to Jesus we find the disciple whom Jesus loved, John.  Who else sat by Jesus?  Artists have made their guesses.  There is some evidence for the fact that on the other side of Jesus we find Judas.  As they dip their bread we find Judas dipping in the same bowl as Jesus, and in what seems to be a whisper between them Judas asks, “is it I?” and if heard by all there would be no debate when Jesus says, “It’s as you say,” and “do what you must, now it the time.”  But since the revelation of betrayal there is a great debate about who is the worst among them, and in an amazing twist the debate quickly moves to who is the best.  Later that night Jesus exchanges his last glances with Judas before he leaves to bring the mob.  We don’t find the best by Jesus, those who betray, deny and run away, but all of them Jesus loves.  The greatest of all servant among those with inflated pride and empty dreams.  In their midst Jesus prepares for the most painful night of His life.

Next to Jesus: Criminals

Reading: Luke 23:13–49

Next to Jesus we find the criminals: one on his right and one on his left.  Each criminal has a different eternal destiny though their crimes have brought them to the same spot.  One uses the final breaths of his life to ridicule Jesus along with the crowd, the other in one of the few moments of spiritual clarity shouts down his jeers and defends the innocence of Jesus, not his own.  Next to Jesus we find the first one to be invited into the paradise that Jesus is creating while on the cross.  The criminal is the first, the honored guest, a criminal whose life is turned around in his last breaths.  “Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”  “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Next to Jesus: No One in Heaven or Earth

Reading: Psalm 22:1–19

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Published in: on April 3, 2010 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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