Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 21, 2011

anything-but-ordinary day!

For me, (and maybe you) it has all the trappings of an ordinary day. Golf courses are full, malls get extra traffic, and many churches have traditional Good Friday services. But this day is anything but ordinary in the context of eternity past, present and future. Literally, on Good Friday we are observing the hinge point of history. Centuries have passed since Christ hung on the cross for the sins of mankind. And quite frankly without intentional focus, the significance of His sacrifice gets lost in the events of our ordinary day.

When I think of the day Christ died, it is hard for me to imagine what it must have been like. What would I have experienced and felt as an eyewitness? When darkness came, how would I have responded? As He spoke seven times in six hours, would I have gleaned any meaning from His incredible last words? Can you fathom the earthquake, or veil of the temple being torn in two from top to bottom? What must have the scene been like when the tombs were opened and many holy people were raised to life? What we celebrate today was no ordinary day!

Scripture reveals that Jesus was hung on the cross at about 9am, and remained there until 3 in the afternoon. Before being hung on the cross, He had been mocked, spit upon and beaten. Christ could have called ten thousand angels to rescue Him, but He willingly gave His life as atonement for our sins. Can any of us even comprehend what it must have been like when darkness came at noon? During the three hours of darkness, He was silent. Matthew tells us that at the ninth hour (3pm), Christ broke the silence crying out in a loud voice. This was no ordinary day!

As ominous as this day must have been, the words spoken by our Savior give insight into why He hung there for you and me, and all mankind. During the first three hours, He spoke only three times.

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34)
I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Dear woman, here is your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother. (John 19:26-27)

Three statements in three hours, but they give us a marvelous picture of His forgiving, compassionate heart. Then silence came with darkness, until He cries out…

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?!
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?! (Matthew 27:46)

I am thirsty. (John 19:28)
It is finished. (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

I can only imagine what the cry was like when Christ cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” God had to turn His back on Christ as He took our sins upon Himself. What indescribable and pure love! When the plan of redemption was complete, He said, “It is finished”.  Words are a gateway to the soul, and the words that graced the lips of Christ on this ominous day were anything but ordinary. The agony of that day was for us.

As we go about the activities of a day we celebrate every year, I don’t believe our spirits should be melancholy about what happened on the day Christ was crucified. Nor do I believe we should just view the events in a distant historical context. All of history turned on that day, as Christ completed what the Father sent Him to do (for us, and for all!). And it was no ordinary day!

So as we celebrate Good Friday, don’t miss, but don’t stop at His suffering.  Christ was not a victim of betrayal, brutal beatings and death on the cross.  He walked the entirety of the road to the cross willingly to bear the full measure of the sins of all, for all time, so that we might have life!  Let’s reflect on, celebrate and be eternally thankful for the extraordinary, indescribable, pure love that God has for us, and that Jesus showed for us on that anything-but-ordinary day!

Just as we mentioned at the end of our last post, this suffering, this sacrifice, this hope is NOT limited to those who already believe.  If you have arrived here and find yourself questioning or seeking, reach out to us at journeyonwordwithus@gmail.com.  Every bit of what Jesus did on this anything but ordinary day was for you too!


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