Good Friday 2023

A little something different today as we celebrate Good Friday. Here’s some of what I’ll be sharing with my congregation this evening as we reflect on the power and importance of the cross. Thanks for listening and sharing.

The crucifixion of Jesus was the greatest injustice ever perpetrated on the earth. Jesus died a totally innocent man because of our sin. Listen to how it all unfolded. 

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe. And they kept coming up to him and saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ and were slapping his face. Pilate went outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I’m bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him.’ Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: John 18:28

“Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Everybody knows the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the Jews were the bad guys in the Gospels. They were the bad guys because of their hatred for Jesus. Beyond His constantly presenting the Law in ways they didn’t understand and wouldn’t accept, though, the thing that most enraged them about Him was His constantly pointing out their hypocrisy. They hated that. A lot. And yet, we have scenes like this one in which their hypocrisy in displayed in technicolor, yet their own screens seemed to be set only for black and white because they can’t see it. Let’s talk about the glaring hypocrisy of the Jewish religious elite and what it might mean for us.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:33-36

“He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.’ He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We can easily imagine the agony of the cross. At least, we think we can. You have perhaps seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and its portrayal of those awful events. (Fun fact: that was the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever until its total was eclipsed by…wait for it…Deadpool. And that tells you about all you need to know about where our culture is today.) Yet the agony of the ordeal of the cross began before Jesus experienced any of its physical horrors. Let’s take a look this morning at where Jesus’ sufferings really began in earnest as He prepared to give up His life for us.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:8-11

“The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom. Pilate answered them, ‘Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?’ For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read or listened to someone else read the Bible out loud? Forget about the Bible for a second, have you ever read or heard someone else read any story out loud? How does that usually sound? If we’re being honest, pretty dull and lifeless. Most people read out loud with a monotone voice. Have you ever noticed that? That’s really interesting to me. I don’t know many people who talk like that. When you’re telling someone else a story you care about, you put all kinds of emotion and feeling into it. Your face is animated, you move your hands, you alter the pitch and tone of your voice for emphasis. It’s engaging for others. But when we read something someone else wrote, all of that goes away. I’ve never really been sure why exactly that is. Now, come back to the Bible with me. When we read the Bible out loud like we read everything else out loud, what gets conveyed to the listener is that this is really boring stuff. There’s no life to it. There’s no excitement. There’s no real story. It’s just…blah. The thing is, though, the Bible is anything but blah. Here’s a story that proves it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:36

“And he said, ‘Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do? How many of you do that at about 8:00 every morning? Life is filled with times when we are faced with having to do things that are not our first choice. In fact, they may not even be our second or third choices. It may be they are so far down the list that you could scroll for days and never find them. But we do them anyway. Why? Many reasons. It could be a sense of duty or obligation. It could be out of compassion for someone else. It could simply be that we like to eat and live indoors. Whatever the reason, though, we set ourselves aside and push through. As you do this, you should know there’s no one who understands this so well as Jesus does. Let’s talk about why.

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