The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 03/30

Posted on | March 30, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 03/30

Scripture reading: Luke 23:26–43

What’s So Good About Good Friday?

God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. (II Corinthians 5:19 NASB)

 

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. It is impossible to miss the symbolism. The author of the Emancipation Proclamation was struck down on the very day that the Savior of the world was crucified. Two great liberators dying on the same day: what could be more dramatic than that?

Only five days earlier at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, General Lee had sur- rendered to General Grant, bringing to an end the bloodiest conflict in American history. Washington DC was in the mood to celebrate. The war was finally over. Slavery was abolished. The victory had been won. The nation’s future was bright with promise. Lincoln himself had set the tone for the coming new era in his Second Inaugural Address given only five weeks earlier: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in . . .”

But Good Friday changed everything. Lincoln and his wife wanted to enjoy an evening of entertainment. They too were in the mood to celebrate. But while watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC, Lincoln was shot and killed by an assassin’s bullet. Suddenly, the celebrations ceased, and a nation was gripped by mourning.

Jesus too died on Good Friday. It stands to reason that many want compare his death to Lincoln’s. What’s the difference? The question is worth asking. We could add names to the list of great men who have given their lives so that others could be free: Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. Like Lincoln, these men, too, are heroes. They died so that others might live. Isn’t that what Jesus did? Some might say he was the greatest of them all, but they see no real difference in his death and theirs.

I certainly don’t want to diminish the sacrifice of noble men and women who gave their lives for others. We owe these heroes of history a great debt. But we need to under- stand how different was Jesus’ death from theirs . . . profoundly different. Those who fail to grasp this fact place their own salvation in jeopardy. Consider the difference:

Lincoln’s Death                                                     Jesus’ Death

 

 

 

His life was taken.

His life was freely offered. No one takes it from me, I lay it down of my own accord (John 10:28). He could have called legions of angels to rescue him at any moment (Matt. 26:53). But no . . . he chose to die, for others.
His death inspires us to be heroic and sacrificial. His death humbles us and leads us to confess our sins and repent.
 

His death is exemplary.

His death is redemptive. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree . . . by his wounds you have been healed (I Peter 2:24).
He died and was buried. Monuments were built to honor his legacy. He died and was buried . . . but he rose from the dead! The legacy he left is his church (the body of Christ).
In Lincoln’s death we see human nature offering its very best to God. In Jesus’ death we see God offering his very best to man.

 

On Good Friday, you may want to tip your hat to Abraham Lincoln in gratitude for what he did. But when you remember Jesus . . . fall on your knees and worship him.

When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all. (Isaac Watts)

 

Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream;

all the fitness he requireth, is to feel your need of him.—J. Hart

 

point to ponder No one took Jesus’ life; he freely gave it.

prayer focus Thank God in humble gratitude for what he did for you.

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