Fridays…

The Following is a speech I gave to my school at our Easter Assembly:  

“Fridays. They’re good. 

Each week we all look forward to them – they’re a cause for celebration! The weekend is near! A sunny Friday is always good. A lazy Friday is always good. A Friday with an awesome weekend is always good. Friday heralds the arrival of a temporary break from our weekly struggles. It’s always good.

But imagine if one Friday we were told we could have the rest of the term off. That would be a very good Friday. But that’d never happen

Or imagine a Friday where Chicko’s were giving out free chicken burgers and Pepsi Max’s. That would be a very good Friday. But it’d never happen

Imagine a Friday where we recieved notification from the Board Of Studies that everyone’s marks were being scaled to up 100%. That would be a very good Friday. But… It’d never happen

Imagine a Friday where Kevin Rudd visited and personally distributed laptops to every student. That would be a very good Friday. But, again, it’d never happen

Imagine a Friday where the King, the King of Kings infact, made an incredible sacrifice so we could have an incredible gift. That would be a very good Friday – and that really did happen!

 

It’s a Friday that stands out above the rest. Not only is it good, its the best. Its the ‘most good’ Friday (excuse my grammar). It wasn’t a sunny Friday or a lazy Friday. It was a sad and dark Friday. But it was the Friday which changed the world, the universe. It was the Friday God sent His son to die on a cross. 

Why’s it so good though? Why do we celebrate Christ’s death, not just his glorious resurrection? It’s because His death has some amazing consequences for all of us.Firstly, Jesus died to take away our condemnation. He took our punishment. Romans 8:1 says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus takes away the punishment of disobedience to God through his death. It is through Him, and only Him, that this punishment can be removed. Romans later then asks triumphantly: “Who can condemn?”, the answer is no-one. Our condemnation doesn’t just disappear, but get wholly placed upon Jesus, He took it all so we could live a life right with God.Sometimes it might seem as if this condemnation and punishment still exists. We see Christians being persecuted, made fun of, joked about. We’ve probably experienced it ourselves. To us it may seem like condemnation is very real. Yet we have to see that although we face earthly opposition, no one can defeat us. For “if God is for us, who can be against us?”. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” No. We’re alive in Christ, and in Him there is no condemnation. That’s what makes this Friday a very Good Friday.

This may be stretching the metaphor, but typical Fridays for us students signal a short time where normal punishment don’t happen. Friday brings in the weekend, and there’s no detention on the weekend, there’s no picking up papers – those punishments are gone. Similar to that, Good Friday, that is, when Jesus died, removed all punishments. Unlike normal Friday’s, whose release from punishment lasts only a few days, Good Friday gives us an eternal release from this condemnation.

 

Jesus also died to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.”Humans were meant for life. We want to live. Even in times of great suffering and pain, humans don’t want death – they want relief. Humans are made for life. It’s because we’re made in God’s image and He’s a living, life-loving God. However, when we sinned, we brought on death – eternal death in hell. This is totally opposite to the living happy state we’re meant to be in, and it’s what makes Jesus’ death so amazing. Jesus died so we could have eternal life in the presence of God. By taking the condemnation we deserved upon Himself, Jesus gives us the gift we don’t deserve.There’s one way to unlock this amazing gift. It’s to believe in Jesus, and what He’s done. Because, as it says in 1 Corinthians, “What no eye has see, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined… God has prepared for those who love Him.” Jesus suffered, and Jesus died to give us this gift. Why wouldn’t we want to accept Jesus and live eternally!

Just as each Friday starts off the weekend – a period of happiness and joy, so Good Friday gives us the gift of eternal happiness and joy through Christ in Heaven.

 

There’s another reason why Jesus had to die. This one might seem a little strange – but Christ died so we could live for Christ. It says that in 2 Corinthians: “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him”! So Jesus died so we could live for Him. Bluntly, I guess, Christ died for Christ. It sort of sound selfish like that – but Jesus did die so He himself could be exalted. That kinda jars with us – it seems unloving, and a bit vain. In reality though, it’s the most loving thing Jesus did for us.You see, Jesus knows what we need, and what we needed was some serious help – we we’re head-high in sin. So God decided to give us the best help he could. And that was Jesus. Knowing Jesus is better than anything the world has to offer. Now we can see how Christ dying for us to live for Him is so loving. Jesus is the greatest help we could have, so by giving himself, Jesus is showing amazing love. Showing love to us went hand in hand with exalting himself. Now that he is exalted, our lives have purpose, our hearts have comfort. We are given reason to live, to strive on towards the goal. If Christ had not been exalted, If he had not died, and we were not living for Him, we would have no direction. Christ’s lifting up gives us something to look towards. We can live our lives purposefully and joyfully because of what Jesus has done. We can go into the world living confident loving and Godly lives because we live in Christ.

The song “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” says:

“Love so amazing, so divine,


Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

When you hear the sing it, remember how Jesus died to give us the ultimate help – himself. And this love ‘demands’ action. This love is so amazing, we can’t just sit there and just pray a “Thank You”, instead we must give out entire soul, our entire life, our all to Jesus. We must live for Him, and thats what the crucifixion enabled us to do.

 

Jesus death takes away our condemnation, it gives us eternal life and It enables us to live a life for Christ.

There’s a progression there. The act of removing our punishment was all Jesus. We had to do nothing. He took our punishment upon Himself, There was nothing we could or would do. For while we were still sinners, or God’s enemies, Christ died for the ungodly.

Then there’s eternal life. It’s something that Jesus offers. For eternal life we must believe in Jesus. It requires a response. We have to fully believe in Him, and what He has done for us to gain eternal life. Without faith, We won’t get this benefit of Jesus’ death. We play a part in gaining this gift.

Thirdly, His death lets us live for Him. This aspect, unlike the others, is fully Jesus, and fully us. Although Jesus died to enable us to live for Him, we are the ones that must actually do it. We have to respond to his love, and we ought to do it by living for Him.

 

Many Friday’s are good. But Good Friday is the best – it’s a day of so many blessings: removal of condemnation, eternal life, and the exultation of Christ, and these blessings don’t come to an end like a weekend would. There’s no “Monday”looming in terms of heaven – the future is bright – eternal life with Jesus Christ, but we need to believe, and show our belief in a live thats lived for Christ.Most of the time we’re told to stop and ponder what Jesus has done on this Good Friday. But we should do more than that. Take advantage of that third blessing of Jesus’ death – being able to live for Christ. Think about what Jesus has done, but then get up and do something about it! Show Jesus how thankful you are by taking advantage of the gifts he died to give us. Start living a life dedicated to Him. Love God and Love others. Do Good, obey the Lord, not as a way to earn brownie points with God, but as thanks for the amazing gifts and sacrifices he has made for us.

 

We’ve got a four day weekend coming up. Four sleep-ins. Four days without school, Four days with family and friends. As you’re out during easter, enjoying Friday and the days that follow, see the parallels.

This Friday brings in a time of happiness and joy. The original Good Friday brought eternal happiness and joy

This Friday temporarily releases us from the bonds of school. The original Good Friday released us from the unbreakable bonds of sin.

This Friday give us a time with Family and friends. The first Good Friday allowed us to live a whole live with our greatest friend and saviour Jesus Christ.

 

If there was a Friday where we were told we could have the term off, we would eventually have to come back.

If there was a Friday where Mr Rudd handed out laptops, they break sooner or later

If there was a Friday where Chicko’s gave out free burgers, they’d be gone in literally seconds.

But the gifts and blessings of Good Friday will not fade, they will not break or end. They’re eternal

Thank Jesus for Good Friday, and the blessed heavenly weekend it brings!”

 

Copyright Paul Vaartjes 2008 

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