A Time of Repentance

Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

5 Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”     Luke 23:4-5 (NLT)

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.      Mark 15:31-32 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered why today has been called “Good Friday”? I’m not offering any historical facts here but when I consider Jesus’ message as “Good News,” it begins to make sense to me to call today Good Friday. While not denying one minute of the horrific and unimaginable suffering of Jesus (despite Hollywood’s attempts in movies), what the Messiah did that day was a perfect act of love. God sent His Son as Savior to do what His children could not do for themselves. His blood covered all our sins. Jesus, who was without any sin, took the sins from Adam and Eve through time to me and onward until He returns. He took them to the cross and there sin and death were destroyed.

The two passages of Scripture caused a lance of pain in my heart as I was reading the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ final week. Pilate, who history doesn’t not report as neither compassionate nor slow to pronounce a death sentence on anyone who threatened Caesar’s rule, tells the High Priest and the crowd he has no cause to order Jesus’ death. Jesus never involved Himself in the political arena. It was the High Priest and the Sanhedrin who felt threatened; and rightly so.

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

2 “The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses.3 So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

4 They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help.5 Everything they do is just to show off in front of others.”      Matthew 23:1-5 (CEV)

It was this kind of teaching which infuriated the Pharisees and leaders. Jesus, like John the Baptist before Him, called the temple leaders to task for their manipulation of the Law for their own gain and standing in the community. God hates pride and detests anyone who puts false burdens on His children.

It is still happening in our churches today. God comes near and people embrace His love and teachings. They begin to form prayer groups and more small groups for Bible study. Sabbath worship begins to last more than an hour as people share where and how God has been at work in their lives during the week. People begin to reach out into their communities to the homeless and the poor, giving and serving others. And “those people” begin to come to worship. “Those people” who have children who do not know how to act in a sanctuary. They don’t dress up on Sundays like they should. Church members begin to decide more of the church budget should go to the poor and missions instead of salaries and new carpet for the floor and soft cushions for the pews. And other members become enraged because their comfortable, predictable “the-way-we’ve-always-done-it” is abandoned.

Today, as I meditate again on Christ’s suffering and death, I turn to God and ask Him to “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me.” (Psalm 51:10) Is my heart set on things of God? Am I following God’s plan and making His priorities – my priories? Are my actions and motives about bringing all the credit, all the glory to God? Jesus said He came not to condemn me but to save me. He saves me everyday with His loving conviction of my sins and His great mercy to forgive them. There are no words to express all that is in my heart for what God has done. But I am going to spend time today, tomorrow and all my tomorrows trying to express my love for Him and share with others His love for them too.

My Tribute/My Redeemer Lives written by Andre Crouch & Nicole C Mullen & sung by Nicole C Mullen

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