Good Friday Death to Hostility and Peace Through the Unity of the Spirit

Good Friday Service 2021

Death to Hostility

 

Welcome! We gather today not as a people without hope and filled with grief, NO. We gather today to remember the incredible sacrifice and amazing love of our Savior Jesus Christ! We gather to remember how He courageously, willingly, selflessly, and peacefully made that horrific journey to Golgotha, “the place of the skull”.  The latin word is “calvaria” so many of us know and revere this site as Calvary. We gather knowing it was because of what Jesus did on the cross that day, we now refer to as Good Friday. A day our lives have been forever changed. Because of Jesus, we are not a people who fear death. We are a people who are secure in our hope that death was defeated that day and our Savior forever holds the keys to heaven and hades! We are a people redeemed by the blood of Christ, no longer living in shame and guilt. We are a people who have been set free from the bondage of sin because our Savior took our sin and nailed it to the cross! 

We gather in reverent worship today to give thanks to our “Savior, who took what we deserve, so we could receive what He deserved.” -Bill Johnson. 

We look upon the old rugged cross and sing of it’s greatness, wonder and power -not because of the cross itself, but entirely because of who was laid upon that cross and the power that was on Him that now also flows to all who believe in Him. 

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Son of Man, Immanuel, Prince of Peace and King of kings. 

Let us pray and invite the Holy Spirit to help us remember this divinely ordained and pivotal moment to Christian faith. Everything we believe rests on this truth: 

Jesus was the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world. Jesus was the atonement who gave His very life for the sins of humanity. He was and is our redemption before God. He made a way for us to draw near to God again and not only have right-standing with Him, but to have relationship with Him again, as was God’s original plan in the garden with Adam and Eve. 

John 3:16-17 NIV  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Colossians 1: 19-20 NIV 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Pray. 

Father God we are all made by Your hands, for Your glory and for Your purpose. Humanity fell into sin and sin separates us from You. That is not Your desire or pleasure. You are a loving, caring God who delights in being near Your creation. You are relational just as You have made us relational. We are made in Your image. You are good and merciful. You knew there is no way we could ever fulfill the Law You gave Moses. It was only meant for a period of time to help humanity be aware of our sin nature and to show us our need for a Savior. In Your rich mercy, You sent Your Son down from glory, to be born of a woman so He would be fully man and relate to humanity. He set aside His deity and walked this earth in the flesh, feeling everything we feel; being tempted as we are all tempted and yet He did not sin which qualified Him to be our perfect and spotless sacrifice. He was fully surrendered to You Father and looked to You for a constant flow of Your wisdom, strength, power and love to guide and sustain Him. This is what You desire for us. Jesus was our model to follow. He never operated in His own power here on the earth; solely out of the flow of the Spirit that joins You. Help us to see today as we reflect Father, why You did what You did. Why You went to such lengths for us mere humans who are deeply flawed. Help us see what You want us to know and how You call us to live in this world that is filled with brokenness and sin. You have called us out of darkness and into Your Light for Your divine purposes. Show us Father. Let us see the heart of Jesus when He was here. Let us follow His example and most of all, let us honor His great sacrifice and live a life worthy of our calling. Move in us today Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray. Amen. 

Let’s look further at the WHY in Jesus’ dying on the cross. We see a very clear purpose God has that Jesus fulfilled and brought about through His death on the cross. 

Ephesians 2: 10-16 NIV

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 

15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

God originally revealed Himself to the Jews. He had a plan all along for salvation to be offered to everyone. Jesus would bring about this revelation and a path to reconciliation through His work on the cross. In Christ there would no longer be Jew or Gentile, slave nor free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ. 

Theologian and Bible Commentator, Albert Barnes said, “They who are reconciled to God will be at peace with each other. They will feel that they are of the same family, and are all brethren.”  He went on to clarify this text is not only talking about hostility that had grown between Jews and Gentiles, but also the hostility between every sinner and God. “He has by that death removed all the obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God and on the part of man, bringing forth peace between God and mankind.”

 

Jesus walked this earth witnessing and experiencing great hostility towards Him, which was also towards God, and towards one another.  

The Pharisees were always against Him, trying to trap Him in disobeying the Law. They didn’t care about unity in the people; they cared about retaining their power over the people. They schemed to arrest Jesus. They wanted Him gone because He was causing too much of a stir. Jesus was upsetting their apple cart and bringing all kinds of people together who were never meant to be together! 

One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas, took a payoff to sell Jesus out and give away His whereabouts. Jesus was peacefully praying to His Father in the garden, for strength, courage, His love to fill Him and to keep focused on the joy set before Him. 

Luke 22: 41-44 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Remember He was fully man and agonized over what lie ahead for Him. A mob of soldiers and religious leaders came at His aggressively. 

He said, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”   Matthew 26: 55-56. 

Then they led Jesus before the high priest and the Sanhedrin looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could put Him to death. They couldn’t find any. They kept pressing. 

Matthew 23: 63-64 The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 

Jesus is making it known right in this moment. I come in peace now. I willingly offer Myself as the Lamb of God, for this is God’s will and His divine purpose. But make no mistake I AM the Son of the Living God. I will ascend to glory once more and when I return to earth again I will be riding on the clouds in absolute victory! 

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! “He is worthy of death,” they answered.

The elders took Jesus then to stand in front of Pilate the Roman governor. For Rome was the power source in that day. 

Pilate asked Jesus, “are you king of the Jews?”  Jesus said, “You have said so.” 

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

After interrogating Jesus, Pilate determines there is no fault in Jesus that he should put him to death. He tells the people he will punish him and release him. The people demand Jesus be crucified. Pilate had a custom to release one prisoner at the festival  that was chosen by the crowd. He had a known murderer named Barabbas in custody. He asked the people which do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus-your king? 

Mark 15: 11-13 11 But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. 12 Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”  13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

Pilate says “why, what crime has he committed?” They kept shouting. So Pilate agreed to pacify the crowd. The soldiers then mock Jesus and torment Him in many ways, also making Him carry His own cross.

Crowds followed along-many mocking Jesus along the path to Golgotha, some were crying. Jesus took note of those crying and in compassion and mercy He said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.”  Luke 23: 28. 

This was based on what He felt as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and what He knew was coming for Israel as they rejected Him. They would no longer be under His covering and protection. They would be vulnerable to the enemies all around them circling like vultures to prey on them. 

As He was hanging on the cross He looked upon those who brought all this pain and hostility upon Him and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[a] When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46. 

John 19:30 Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Matthew 27: 51-52 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open.

The prophet Isaiah cried out to God in prayer to rend the heavens and come down to earth.

 Isaiah 64:1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!

 Over 500 years later, God brought forth the answer to His cry. The heavens tore open and God Himself came down to earth in the form of man. The veil tearing in two- signifying no more separation between man and God-there would now be a path of reconciliation through the cross; the rocks splitting and heaven and earth shaking to signify the power of God and death to hostility and letting the spiritual forces of darkness know they did not win; Goodness wins. Love wins. Peace will prevail. 

What seemed like a great defeat to the disciples of Christ, was actually the greatest victory our world will ever know! Jesus defeated the enemy by letting His spotless blood-the only human who was without sin-to give His life on heaven’s alter and pay the ransom in full for the sins of humanity. Sin was nailed to the cross as Jesus took His final breath. Sin has no more dominion over any of us who believe in Christ! 

Christ accomplished what He was sent for. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. He reconciled all who would believe in Him through the work on the cross, putting death to hostility. 

His entire life modeled peace, love for God and one another, patience, and unity in the brotherhood. 

If Jesus put to death hostility towards man and God, and brother or sister against one another, shouldn’t we follow suit? This is why He came to create in Himself, one new humanity, one Body reconciled to God. 

If we are allowing a root of hostility to grow in our hearts towards God or others for any reason, let us repent of it today. Let us leave it here at the altar-on the cross. At this time, we’ll move into a time of prayer and reflection, asking God to search our hearts to see if there is anything offensive we might be harboring. I have pieces of paper-if He reveals something to you and you’re willing, write it down, repent and ask to have that root cut out of your heart, remembering the dividing wall of hostility was already knocked down by Jesus on the cross and to fill you instead with His peace and love towards Him and others. Come and nail that to the cross and leave it here today-thanking Jesus for His cleansing blood and being our peace.  If you are here and have never received Christ as your Savior, I invite you to do so today. This is why He died on the cross, for you, to forgive your sins, to reconcile you to God and give you new life with His Spirit dwelling in you. Pray to ask forgiveness of your sins, acknowledge Jesus is Lord and Savior of your life and heart, believe He died for you and rose again 3 days later. Believe He is alive and forever King of kings. Invite Him into your heart. Write something you want to leave on the cross today and start a new, for Christ died to bring peace for all who believe. 

Today of all days is the time to freely confess and be set free from that which binds you and keeps you from His peace. 

1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Song  At the Cross, Chris Tomlin

Communion: Let us move right into communion as we continue to reflect on the depth of Christ’s love for us and what His death means for us. The penalty of death has been paid through the blood of Jesus. His blood shed has destroyed the power of Satan. Destroyed it. Darkness and sin have no more dominion over us! There is divine power in His blood to save and protect! As we believe this by faith, that power is released in our bodies and out through our lives. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony!” We are free to live fully in Him, in His peace that He freely gives to us. We are free to draw near to God and enjoy a relationship with Him because Christ has imparted His righteousness to us. We are heirs with Christ in God’s kingdom and enjoy every spiritual blessing bestowed upon Christ. These are no small gestures or things to be taken lightly or for granted. They are to be revered; He is to be revered always as both the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. 

Ephesians 4:1-6 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Lord Jesus You taught us to eat this bread by faith in remembrance of You and Your body given for us. You were the spotless lamb who was slain on our behalf. You also taught us to drink this juice by faith as a symbol of Your blood shed the forgiveness of sins and a sign of the new covenant of grace You ushered in. A blood sacrifice is the requirement in God’s economy and You gave Your very life, which is in the blood, so we could be reconciled to God. Your blood washed away our sin and purifies our hearts and minds. 

We remember. We stand in awe of You. Help us Jesus through Your Spirit, to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. Help us keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. We thank You for teaching us Your ways Jesus. Let us follow Your Word. 

Hebrews 12:14 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

May these words be our daily proclamation: 

Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We thank You Jesus! Thank You for Your willing sacrifice and taking our sins to the grave. Thank You for tearing down the wall of hostility that separates and divides. Thank You for being our peace. We owe all to You Jesus. 

Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Song Living Hope. 

 

God bless you on this Good Friday and may we go with deep gratitude to our Savior and in confident hope for what we have now and for eternity in Him! 

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