It is difficult for me to think about this day in its proper perspective. When I think of Christ’s sufferings, the vicious cruelty of his captors, deserted by his friends, smuggled away in the dark of night, standing alone before His enemies, an helpless sheep among wolves, separated from the love of men and of God. Utterly alone and abandoned. That was the meaning of the prayer: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Jesus had no fear of the suffering of crucifixion, or of facing death, even death on a cross. That was his purpose. The Lamb of God had come to this world to die. But to be alone, separated from His Father in Heaven, even for a short time, was something He had never experienced. It was unknown to Him, terrifying in its prospect and yet, in His love for the Father, He is obedient even unto death. I can’t help but to think of Isaac, pleading with his father, Abraham, in the same way. And then I think of the Father. Every fiber of His being wants to relent as He hears His beloved Son cry out to Him pleading to be released from this horrible commitment, praying for an alternate plan, but there is none and, for God, their is no one to supply it.
Adam’s sin demands, by Cain’s choosing, the shedding of innocent blood. The law, spoken by God to Moses, cannot be revoked. It must be fulfilled or all will be lost. The light will fade and all the Heavens and the earth will return to darkness. God’s love for His creation will not allow that and so, the innocent lamb must go to the slaughter in spite of its pathetic cries. Think of a love so powerful that it could make such a sacrifice.
Those who have sinned, who by their sin have created this requirement, must place their hands on the lamb. They must identify themselves with the sacrifice, or the shedding of its blood will have no meaning. Three men here have been chosen to be our representatives, our priests, if you will. Pilate, who represents the secular world, Annas, who represents the religious world, and Herod, who represents the world of man’s intellect. These three have placed their hands on the sacrifice and these three, together, have shed the blood of the lamb. It was the final and only sacrifice acceptable to God. It was His own son whom He willingly placed in our hands for this purpose. His shed blood has become the atonement for all sin, for all time. There is no alternative plan. If there were, God would have relented at hearing His Son cry out to Him.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Will you accept the gift of God? Will you consent to become His friend? To refuse this gift is to slap the Father in the face. To refuse this gift is to join in the abuses of Good Friday; to mock, to spit on, and to murder the Son of God. “So they threw Him out of the vineyard and killed Him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?” Luke 20:13
Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Will you open your heart to Him today? “Today is the day of God’s favor. Today is the day of salvation… For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory God intended.“