From: Su Min
Subject: Good Friday
My dear children,
The biblical truths expounded from the pulpit on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday may be summed up as follows:
Rev George Wan preached on Good Friday, the Drama of Good Friday. He showed us that while the human activity was in the foreground, there was a more significant cosmic event taking place.
- the drama of the crucifixion may be viewed in two dimensions: the human dimension and the spiritual dimension.
- of the seven last sayings from the cross, perhaps the most significant is "It is finished".
He gave us a clear picture of each of three characters he chose to highlight, Judas, why he chose to betray Jesus, never really understood Jesus: Simon Peter impetuous, self willed, act on own strength. Pontius Pilate serving expediency rather than truth, hypocrisy and cowardice in washing hands. He correctly pointed out that there is a bit of Judas, Peter, Pilate in each of us.
He gave several good examples of evil forces at work: Satan the disembodied spirit seeking human agents to do his worst. In the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, Delilah & Samson, Bathsheba and David, Jezebel & Israel, Steven, Ananias, Elymas, and even today, his son's Joshua's near fatal accident: Within the passion scenario, Satan works through Judas, Pilate, the crowds, the Roman soldiers and even the deserting disciples. Jesus has warned of the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). Paul reminds us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Eph 6:12).
The good news is that Jesus defeats Satan. 1 John 3:18,
Let me expand a little of this a theme, looking at the players in this passion drama, aware of the powers of good and evil in the background, like a cosmic game of chess, each piece a person with his own free choice of which master to follow, and the cosmic players, God versus the prince of darkness.
- By his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is the devil. Heb 2:14
- Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col 2:15.
Jesus stands unique in this cosmic drama, player and director at the same time. Jesus stands unique in this cosmic game: a pawn subject to cosmic forces, yet a cosmic player in his own right, giving up his heavenly powers to subject his own personal will to that of God.
A review of the passion week events may begin with the anointing at Bethany, that event framed by the plot against Jesus and the betrayal. Already we have the following cast members to study:
In the heavenly realm, the battle was between God and Satan.
- Mary, who uses her life savings to anoint Jesus with perfume, wiping him with her hair (Matt 26:7).
- Martha who previously was too busy bustling around and serving, doing things instead of sitting at his feet and treasuring his company.
- Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead
- Simon the leper, who hosted the dinner at the anointing at Bethany (Matt 26:6).
- Peter, James a& John of the inner circle (Mark 14:33)
- All the rest of the disciples, who were at the dinner, and later at the last supper, but who at Gethsemane, ran away.
- Malchus, servant of the high priest whose ear was cut off (Mk 14:47) (John 18:10)
- The young man who ran away naked from Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52)
- The unnamed man who provided the upper room for the last supper (Matt 26:18)
- Caiphas the chief priest (Matt 26:3)
- Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:13)
- the chief priests
- the teachers of the law
- the elders of the people,
- the whole Sanhedrin, all bigots and hypocrites.
- the priests who spat in his face, struck him with their fists, slapped him, mocked him (Matt 26:67-68) blindfolded him (Luke 22:63)
- the servant girl who identifies Peter as a disciple of Jesus (Matt 26:69)
- even the rooster who crowed at Peter's triple denial (Matt 26:74)
- The many conflicting false witnesses (Mark 14:56-59)
- Barabbas, notorious prisoner, murderer, freed by the crowds demands (Matt 27:21).
- the crowds calling out crucify him (Matt 27:22)
- Pilate's wife (Matt 27:19)
- The soldiers who flogged him (Matt 27:26)
- The soldiers who humiliated him, stripped him, crowned him with the crown of thorns, dressed him with a purple robe, put a reed staff in his hand, knelt before him, spat at him, hit his head (Matt 27:28-30)
- Caesar Tiberius of whom Jesus was falsely accused of subverting (Luke 23:2).
- Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, beheader of John the Baptist, questioned Jesus and hoped to see miracles (Luke 23:8)
- Simon from Cyrene, Matt 27:32) father of Alexander and Rufus (Mk 15:21) bearing the cross for Jesus.
- The soldiers who nailed him to the cross
- The soldiers who cast lots for his clothes
- Pilate who ordered the inscription above his head "This is Jesus, King of the Jew, written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek." (Matt 27:37) (Mark 15:26) (Luke 23:38) (Jn 19:19)
- The two malefactors, one defiant, the other penitent (Luke 23:39-43)
- The scoffers (Matt 27:39)
- One who offered him vinegar (Matt 28:47).
- The centurion (Matt 27:54, Mark 15:39)
- The women, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's sons (Matt 27:56)
- Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there (Mark 15:41)
- The soldier who pierced Jesus side with a spear (John 19:34)
- Joseph of Arimathea, brave enough to boldly ask for Jesus' body, generous enough to use his own tomb (Matt 27: 57-60, Mk 15:42-46)
- Nocodemus who joined Joseph in administering last rites to Jesus (John 19:39-40)
God, whom Jesus addresses as "My Father" (Matt 26:39), "Eloi Eloi" (Matt 28:46), Abba Father (Mark 14:35),Jesus, Son of Man (Matt 26:2), The Teacher (Matt 26:18), Lord (Matt 26:22), Rabbai (Matt 26:25), The shepherd (Matt 26:31), The Christ, The Son of God (Matt 26:63), Jesus of Galilee (Matt 26:69), King of the Jews (Matt 27: 11) Jesus who is called Christ (Matt 27:17), King of Israel (Matt 27:42), The Christ, The Son of the Blessed One (Mark 14:61), that Nazarene Jesus (Mk 14:67), Christ of God, the Chosen One (Luke 23:35) Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:5)
An angel comes to minister to Jesus as he prays in Gethsemane (Mk 15:43)
Jesus Christ is Conqueror of death:
Rev Noel Goh preached the sermon on Maudy Thursday, "It is finished."
- It was prophesied "he shall swallow up death forever" (Isaiah 25:8)
- He demonstrated his victory by his resurrection (Rom 1:4)
- He carries the keys of the grave (Rev 1:18)
- He will call all men from death's domain (Jn 5:28-29
- Will completely destroy death at last (1 Co 15:25-26)
The Greek work that is documented in the scriptures in John 19:30 is "Teleiosis", is it not? though our Lord must have uttered an Aramaic word as his last saying on the cross: not being a bible language student I can only guess from Strong's concordance #3615, that Jesus might well have said "Kalah", the same word used in Gen 2:1 to describe the completion of creation. Getting a sense of the actual word uttered by the dying Jesus helps move close to him.
Suffering is finishedGood Friday is good because Jesus has paid the awful price for my redemption.
Sacrifice is finished
Satan is finished
Failure is not fatal
Death is not final
Life is not futile
Let us pray.
We stand in wonder as we see the cosmic drama unfold before our eyes.
As we review the events of passion week, we see the individual people, with good points, with bad points, each a human with emotions and feelings much the same as we have. Who knows that if we had been in their shoes we would have made the same choices.
Father, we thank you for your perfect plan that provides salvation for our souls and eternal life with you forever.
We know that in our own right we can achieve nothing: we are clothed in sinful rags.
But washed in the blood of Jesus we approach your throne cleansed, forgiven, justified, sanctified.
Even as we grow to love you, help us to understand what it means to be cleansed, forgiven, justified, sanctified.
In Jesus name
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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