Good Friday Today

AUTHOR: Holy Scripture

READ:

Read or listen to Psalm 22.

For the choir director: according to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A psalm of David.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far from my deliverance
and from my words of groaning?
My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
by night, yet I have no rest.
But you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you;
they trusted, and you rescued them.
They cried to you and were set free;
they trusted in you and were not disgraced.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by people.
Everyone who sees me mocks me;
they sneer and shake their heads:
“He relies on the Lord;
let him save him;
let the Lord rescue him,
since he takes pleasure in him.”

It was you who brought me out of the womb,
making me secure at my mother’s breast.
I was given over to you at birth;
you have been my God from my mother’s womb.

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near
and there’s no one to help.

Many bulls surround me;
strong ones of Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths against me—
lions, mauling and roaring.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are disjointed;
my heart is like wax,
melting within me.
My strength is dried up like baked clay;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You put me into the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me;
a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
people look and stare at me.
They divided my garments among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing.

But you, Lord, don’t be far away.
My strength, come quickly to help me.
Rescue my life from the sword,
my only life from the power of these dogs.
Save me from the lion’s mouth,
from the horns of wild oxen.
You answered me!
I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters;
I will praise you in the assembly.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere him!
For he has not despised or abhorred
the torment of the oppressed.
He did not hide his face from him
but listened when he cried to him for help.

I will give praise in the great assembly
because of you;
I will fulfill my vows
before those who fear you.
The humble will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him.
May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth will remember
and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations
will bow down before you,
for kingship belongs to the Lord;
he rules the nations.
All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down;
all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before him—
even the one who cannot preserve his life.
Their descendants will serve him;
the next generation will be told about the Lord.
They will come and declare his righteousness;
to a people yet to be born
they will declare what he has done.

The written Scripture is CSB, however, the audio Scripture is ESV.

FOCUS:

Good Friday Today

By Gabe Coyle

Good Friday this year is closer to Jesus’ historical death than the Palm Sunday which came before it.

Christians throughout history saw this day as set apart, holy. Good Friday was always about more than cognitive retrieval; not just a memory or story retold but bringing it into our consciousness to more fully experience it. Good Friday is re-entering a reality that still shakes the world. The God who is above all time entered time, and when he died, he died once and for all eternity. What does an eternal God crucified mean? It is more than a death “back in time” that has a linear, progressional effect in future time, but a death in time for all time. This death goes as much backward as it does forward. Therefore, the My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, reverberations of Psalm 22 from the lips of our Savior echo louder on this cross-shaped Friday than on other days.

We can so easily turn the work of God in history into impersonal ideas to remember. When this is the case, the cross becomes merely an idea, a moment in the past, jewelry, an artifact, a memory—a thing. While the cross of Christ happened in history, its effects are more than new thinking. God’s death confronts us afresh each Good Friday as we stand before the crucified King Jesus.

On Good Friday, God’s death confronts us in our comfort. We experience the Author of Life dead on a cross, and we see what sin does not just in the abstract. Rather we see what my sin required. We see sin—my sin—for what it is. There is a unique ownership of evil in each of us when we step into Good Friday with our eyes wide open. I cannot look in the mirror and say, “I am good.” I look at a bloodied Jesus and declare, “I did this. I am a sinner.”

God—the one who invented smiles, designed the giraffe, called the waves to break on the shore and return, breathed life into you and me—dies because of me. You. Us.

And this makes what comes next all the more outlandish. I not only see what sin is and does. I see who God is and does. I look at a bloodied Jesus with eyes swollen shut and hear declared over me “You are a beloved sinner.” Beloved by God. In my need, in my evil, in my injustice, in all the ways I am not worthy of his sacrifice, God still came and died. God dies for me.

God did not come to prove his value or his worth. He came to deal with my injustice and pay my debt. God—with his life-saving blood—paid drop after drop after drop of his infinite blood for my infinite debt.

On Good Friday I am confronted by my sin, and my sin is confronted by God’s love. This is more than virtue signalling or play-acting. When Jesus died 2,000 years ago, the cosmic gavel pounded, and that moment, which was much bigger than a moment, closed the case for everyone who should receive the condemnation for Jesus’ death but is willing to be confronted by Jesus’ death. On Good Friday, the sound of the gavel reverberates again today.

So repent. Let the confrontation of the cross set you free today.

PRAY:

How does the psalmist’s careful observation of creation help him communicate who God is and what he does? What stood out to you from Psalm 22? Use that part of the psalm as a prayer.

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Day 5 of 7 Holy Week Contemplation

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