Ironically called Good Friday, it is the most somber day of the year for Christians.
It was before 9 a.m. that morning when Pontius Pilate handed the badly beaten and scourged Jesus over to be crucified. As He carried His heavy cross, He began the agonizing climb to Calvary or Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.
“Here they crucified him and with him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS’ ...” (John 19:18-19 NIV).
The criminal on one side of Jesus threw insults at Him, asking if He were Christ, why didn’t He save Himself and them? The other criminal feared God and rebuked the other criminal, saying Jesus had not done anything wrong. The criminal humbly said,
‘Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:42-43).
Like the two criminals, one on each side of Jesus, we are given a choice. Perhaps that’s why there were two criminals being crucified beside Him — not one, not five, but two — because of the choice.
To accept Jesus as our King of King and Lord of Lords, or not.
To ask Jesus to remember you in His Kingdom or not.
To hurl insults at Jesus, or honor Jesus with humble praises.
Have you humbly asked for Jesus to remember you as His and to join Him in the paradise of eternal life?
“ … Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)
The Greek word telelestai means “It is finished.” During New Testament times, the word tetelestai would have been stamped or written on business documents or receipts to indicate that a bill had been “paid in full.” The connection between this common business transaction stamp and the ultimate transaction Jesus accomplished on the cross was conveyed crystal clear in the Gospel of John with Jesus’ words.
Sweet friend, you are so loved. Jesus paid a sin debt He did not owe because we owed a sin debt we could not pay.
One of my favorite hymns, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” includes the following tender, honest revelation. May these words echo in our souls this Easter and each day of our lives.
Why should I gain from His reward?/I cannot give an answer/But this I know with all my heart/His wounds have paid my ransom.
Please try to fathom how deep Jesus’ Love is for you. How will you show your gratitude and tell others? Please comment.
Which crucified criminal beside Jesus do you relate to?
Please read Psalm 22 and compare it to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John story of Jesus death and resurrection.
“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations …They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn — for He has done it.” (Psalm 22: 27, 28, 31) (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection).
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6) (written over 700 years before Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection).
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Friday’s here; Sunday’s coming!
Danya M. Jordan’s recent debut non-fiction work caps 18 years of Bible studies and church leadership, 20-plus years of writing and speaking and practically a lifetime of hilarious and provoking storytelling. Her mission statement is one word — “Shine!” — based on Matthew 5:16. Based out of Matthews, N.C., her “day job” is a high calling as executive director of donor development for international faith-based Proverbs 31 Ministries (proverbs31.org) at which she loves serving as a “blessings broker.” She may be reached at Danya@proverbs31.org.