Friday, April 3rd, 2015
As I sat down for my devotions this morning, I found myself less-than confident in knowing what Good Friday even was. Is today when Jesus rode in on the donkey? When he was risen? When he was crucified?? If it is when Jesus was crucified, then how is that good?
What is good about this Friday?
In John 3, Jesus tells the Jewish leader Nicodemus, “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… whoever believes in the Son is not condemned” (John 3:16, 18). World, whoever. This is all-encompassing. Every tribe, every nation, every class, every culture, every religion, every sexual orientation, every race, every age, every generation. God loved his people so much that he gave his Son to take their place and endure the consequence for their sin.
A handful of verses later, in John 4, Jesus is at a well and speaks to someone of completely different social status from Nicodemus. A woman, an adultress filled with shame, fetching water in the heat of the day when no one else would be around. One-on-one with her, Jesus tells her about a different kind of water, a “living” water that is available to her, and she will never be thirsty again.
“Sir, give me this water” (John 4:15) she replies.
Jesus instead exposes her. “Go, call your husband…” (John 4:16).
But there was no one to call. She had five prior husbands, and the man she was with now wasn’t even her husband. The secret was out, but for some reason, the woman didn’t leave yet. Jesus continued on to reveal that He was the Messiah. He was the Savior who came to take her place and endure the consequence of her sin, and grant her eternal life. “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’” (John 4:28-29).
She left her water jar and went back into the crowd of people she had originally sought to avoid. She believed the man she met was who he claimed to be. The Messiah. The Christ. The One who exposed her, but instead of condemning her, set her free. Forever.
This man Jesus, this God Yahweh, He loves the world. More than we could ever understand. And he loves each one of us. Individually. More than we could ever dare imagine.
The Good News of Jesus isn’t just that he loves everyone, but that he loves me. You. He can free us from our sin and shame, take away our “guilty” sentence, and give us true life. We don’t have to clean ourselves up, He will take care of that. We don’t have to get it all right, He already did. We have to believe, to receive the gift for “whoever. ” Because when Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19:30), it counted for me, it counted for you.
That is why this Friday is Good.
“The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them. When the whip would strike the flesh, these balls would cause deep bruises or contusions, which would break open with further blows. And the whip had pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely. The back would be so shredded that part of the spine was sometimes exposed by the deep, deep cuts. The whipping would have gone all the way from the shoulders down to the back, the buttocks, and the back of the legs… One physician who has studied Roman beatings said, ‘As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.’” – The Case for Easter, Lee Strobel
Read: John 3:16-21
What do you learn about belief? Condemnation? Light?
Additional reference: Romans 8:1
Contrast the kingdoms of darkness and light. What things fall into each category? Is there any overlap?
Read: John 4:1-26
What does this text tell you about Jesus?
Read: John 7:38-39
What is the living water?
Read: John 19:30
On the cross, what does Jesus give up?
Respond: Spend time in prayer, praising Jesus for who He is and his ability and generosity to transfer us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, and for giving us living water despite what it cost him.
And if you’ve never received the living water, you can pray something like this:
Jesus, would you welcome me into your kingdom? I believe that you are the Messiah, the Savior, not just for the whole world but for me. I’m sorry for my sins, and I want to follow you. I want your living water. Amen
There is nothing magic in the words, but there is absolutely something supernatural in the repentance of heart and surrender to the Savior, the lover of our souls.