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CHRIST, OUR EXAMPLE OF SUFFERING

Friday 30th March, 2018 [Good Friday]

Bible reading
Isaiah 53:1-12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 4:14-16
John 19:17-30

Hymn of meditation: PH 322

To you Lord I come, my Father,
At your Throne, I bow, O God.
Tears and pleadings of Your children,
I present to You, O Christ.
Grant me audience, let me find You,
Flesh and blood, though I am Lord.

Today we want to say thank you to God for giving us grace and opportunity to share in His suffering. We have the cause to praise Him because He did all these so that we shall come to the saving knowledge of our Lord and saviour.

Song interlude 1

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin-
Dwelt among men, my example is He! 

Chorus

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming – O glorious day!

Song interlude 2

On a hill far away
Stood an old rugged cross;
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And I love that old cross
Where the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Chorus

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.


Beloved in the Lord, we appreciate God for today and for the sign He gave us right from this dawn in the sky, giving us light showers and clouds which tells of His mighty works. I am so glad and so happy that Jesus went on the cross to die for us so that today we can worship and give Him glory.

From the first reading in Isaiah 53:1-12, we see a description of the life of Jesus Christ, His death and burial, His resurrection and exaltation. The most important theme in that particular passage is that Christ suffered for us. A closer look at the passage reveals the theme for the chapter: “He, the innocent servant took the place of the guilty one”. Only Jesus can do this and for an assurance to all sinners that He came down, went to the cross to pay a price for our salvation. The servant here is the Lord Jesus who became human. “The child is born” indicates Christ took on human nature. “The son is given” means He is divine and the heart of the Gospel message is that one day an innocent person should come down to earth to suffer so that sinners like you and I will receive salvation.

Today is the day Jesus did everything for all mankind, a day we remember His suffering on the cross and His endurance for us all. We are therefore encouraged that as we get a clearer understanding of what He did on the cross and how He suffered for us, we also would prepare to sacrifice for one another and also for the cause of the Gospel so that at least many would come to His saving knowledge. The chapter, furthermore, tells us that every blessing we receive as God’s children is as a result of the suffering on the cross. The cross is what makes the difference. It’s not the amount of prayer and study but the cross and His suffering.

Jesus died so we might be redeemed. Anytime we talk about the cross, we are talking about the place we all were drawn to and pardoned of our sins. It is only the cross. Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21 reminds us that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. Constantly remind yourself with this one truth; that if you were the only sinner on earth, Christ would still have died for you. He paid the price for everything in our lives. As someone put it, “He did everything He can so we will be redeemed from the curses of God”

He was chastised and beaten so we can have access to the throne room of God. At Golgotha and Gethsemane, Jesus became so sorrowful that He wished the burden was taken away from His shoulders but I am so happy today that He still endured it for you and me according the Father’s will. Today we can cherish and sing about the old rugged cross with zeal to go out and proclaim the power of the cross to others ‘out there’. Today is that day when all believers need to sit back and reflect on the suffering Christ went through, the betrayals and mockery at the hands of the elders and chief priests of the church.

May the Lord, through His power grant to us the grace to go through suffering no matter what happens so that one day, we would all stand and declare that Jesus did it for us. Are you willing to lay down our lives for another brother or sister, a child or anyone who comes close to you?

In Psalm 22, King David reminded the Israelites that as Christ went to the cross to die for them, there are some basic things they should be constantly reminded of:

  1. It is the Lord who delivered them out of the hands of the enemy.
  2. God rescued them, gave them a name and a place so that each time they come into the temple, they can raise up holy hands in worship to the almighty God.
  3. Anyone who fears the Lord, acknowledges Him and is willing to declare Him as Lord and Saviour should be prepared to worship Him daily and live, remembering His goodness every day.
  4. They must rise up to the call to worship.

Beloved, I don’t know how you feel anytime you remember the suffering of Christ, how He was forsaken, despised and rejected by even His own disciples. The Psalmist encourages us to keep up worship and recognise His mighty works of deliverance in our lives. He was the one who delivered us from the curse of the evil one. Therefore, we need to fear Him and give Him the praise and worship due as the Creator and one who has power over all things.

As you celebrate His crucifixion and suffering, may the Lord Himself give you strength and the enablement to stand for Him no matter what happens whether at work or school and anywhere else. May we stand and let the whole world know that it was He who was crucified so the whole world gets access to the throne of God. It is my heart’s desire that we all believe and get convinced that if we place our trust in Him, we will never be disappointed. All power and authority rest in Him.

Finally, I challenge you to picture the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, the crown of thorns that was placed on His head. Consider the blood that drippled from His body and the weight that He carried to the point that He could not stand on His two legs, so you can also agree with the hymn writer that “Christ Jesus went to the cross and did all that for me”. All He expects of us is to remain faithful to Him and to His church; to give glory and honour to Him, remain faithful to His call to go out, proclaim His goodness and bring many others to His saving grace.

Amen!

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