“There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.””
Luke 23:32-35 NKJV
I find that many of us have difficulty discerning the big picture. We focus on the immediate, and fail to see the ramifications of incidents happening right in front of us.
On this Good Friday, nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus went to the cross. In that moment, the rulers of the people had no idea what was really happening, as they were oblivious to the Scriptures and how they spoke of Christ.
One unamed ruler had the audacity to wonder aloud why Jesus, who had saved others was not saving Himself. He could not understand that what Jesus was doing would reverberate through history, and affect the lives of many.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!””
Psalms 22:1-8 NKJV
The God of the Universe, Creator of all things, laid aside His glory, endured humiliation, to be nailed to a cross on Calvary. He died that we might live, that we would be spared the wrath of God.
On a Friday, twenty three years ago, I wandered through my day, unaware of what the weekend would bring. I only knew that on Sunday I was going to church. Jesus’ death on the cross meant little to me on that day, as I was concerned with surviving, getting off work and heading home. Little did I know that I had a divine appointment at the foot of the cross.
As time passes, the magnitude of that first Good Friday, looms bigger and bigger, as lives are transformed. The decay of our society has also made it more significant, as we are getting a glimpse of life without Jesus.
I cannot imagine what this world would be like had there been no Savior. As people begin to fall away, we are seeing our world turned upside down, as things that were decent, have become shameful, and things abhorrent, have become standard.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
II Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
For some reason, this year, this day seems more important to me. I feel an excitement and a foreboding, as I sense that things are going to change radically in the near future. It may be that we did not have the chance to meet together last year. Perhaps. But I feel as though it is something bigger.
Brothers and sisters, let us pause as we can today, and consider what transpired on Calvary that day, when Jesus went to the cross. Let us remember the access to the Holy of Holies that we received when the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom. Let us also reflect on the removal of the veil from our eyes, as we can see with the help of the Holy Spirit, the workings of God. Let us, individually, reflect on what God has done in our own lives.
“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
II Corinthians 3:16-18 NKJV
As we go forth today and encounter people, let us take on the view of the Lord and see people as He does. Let us consider the big picture, what people can be in Jesus. The rulers at the foot of the cross had no idea what Jesus was doing.
Even in His torment, Jesus throught only of saving the lost. Let us not be oblivious to what God is doing, even as life becomes more difficult for those who believe.
Like birth pains signal the Joy of a new arrival, so too the pains that we are experiencing signal the soon coming of the Lord.
““And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Revelation 22:12-13, 20 NKJV