Thoughts On Good Friday…

God blessed us with four Gospels to give us the fullest perspective of the Lord Jesus’ time on earth; just as a crime sometimes has multiple witnesses who all saw the same event from different angles/perspectives, so tonight’s Bible passages will be taken from multiple Gospels to give us a fuller understanding of what happened to Christ the Savior leading up to, during, and after the cross.

Thus the Scripture passages below are taken from all four Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke & John–in the chronological order in which they actually happened so we can more fully “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that we won’t grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).

There is much Scripture below because many of us have over the years only pieced together the account of Good Friday…many have not sat down and read/heard it in one sitting.

Whether you have heard the Good News hundreds of times or whether this post is the first time, may the LORD give us ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. May He help us grow closer to Him, may He give us power to know how high and wide and long and deep is the love of Christ, may He give us power to receive Jesus as Savior and to follow Him as King forever…

Good Friday is the true Valentine’s Day where God once and for all gave us the definition of love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).

Reading #1: Jesus Prepares To Suffer—By Praising, Thanking, & Praying To His Father…

Matthew 26:17-30: 17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.

21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it

and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

.
Reading #2: Jesus Is Overwhelmed With Sorrow To The Point Of Death…So He Prays…

Matthew 26:36-46: 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.

“Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.

41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed,

“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it,
may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.

44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time,
saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?

Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

.
Reflection:
At the Last Supper, Jesus’ disciples called Him “Lord” (Matthew 26:22); Judas called Him “Rabbi” (verse 25). What do you call Him? Teacher, or Savior? Ethical consultant, or eternal King? Many non-Christians are happy to call Jesus a wise person, are happy to learn a few ethical tips from Him. But to bow down and call Him Savior, God, King and Lord, to give Him the title deed of ownership to our very lives, well very few want anything to do with that. Teacher or King? Rabbi or Lord? What do you call Jesus? It makes all the difference in the world…

Please notice how King Jesus prepared for His upcoming suffering: He “gave thanks” to God the Father as He broke the bread that symbolized His body and poured out the wine—FOR OTHERS!!!—that symbolized His blood; He sang a hymn” of worship to God the Father right before Jesus’ upcoming suffering…wow. Praise You in the storm indeed. Jesus KNEW that His upcoming circumstances and suffering did not change the character of God the Father but only highlighted it more brightly, did not change the Truth that God the Father deserves worship and praise and thanks, no matter what, before, during and after the storm! Jesus knew that we worship God for His holy character, not just for our happy circumstances. What an example for us.

“Drink from it [My cup]—all of you.” Wow. Never noticed this before, but it has always been there! Take & eat Jesus—faith!; don’t just hang around Him—mere belief. Drink Jesus—all of us! Take Him into the depths of us, don’t just keep Him at arms length…

The Lord Jesus said He was overwhelmed to the point of death. He had to keep Himself from dying too early—as bad as His flogging and crucifixion would be, even the approaching thought and anticipation of His sacrifice was nearly enough to kill Him. He and the Father and the angels kept Jesus alive so that He could die in just the right way at just the right time. Amazing grace…

Jesus admitted His suffering to His closest friends and asked them for help in the only way they could help Him—prayer. The powerful God of the universe, the Lion of Judah, doesn’t hide suffering, doesn’t mask His need, but shows His vulnerability and reaches out. What an example for us…

“Let us go—here comes My betrayer!” Jesus rises to meet His suffering, He marches toward His betrayer! He doesn’t run & hide but, like the True God-Man Who He is, races to the battle line like David against Goliath, His eyes on His Father and the “joy set before Him”—spreading the fame of the Father and opening up the gates of heaven for all who will believe…

Oh sip and chew and reflect on this, loved ones…

.
Reading #3: Jesus Is Betrayed…By A Friend…It Begins…

John 18:1-3: 18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Luke 22:47-48: While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

 John 18:4-10: 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,
went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)

When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”

This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled:

“I have not lost one of those you gave me.” [John 6:39]

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant,
cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Luke 22:51: But Jesus answered, “No more of this!”
And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

John 18:11: 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!
Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Matthew 26:52-54: “…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

Luke 22:52-53: Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me.

But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Matthew 26:56: Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

.
Reading #4: Jesus Judged By The Court Of Public Opinion…Rejected By His People…

John 18:12-14: 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Luke 22:63-65: 63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.
64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?”
65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

Matthew 26:57-66: 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said,
‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer?
What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”
63 But Jesus remained silent.

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.” [Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy!
Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.
66 What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

.
Reading #5: Jesus Judged By The Court Of Public Opinion…Rejected By The Gentiles.

Luke 23:1-12: 23 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.
And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation.
He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd,
“I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching.
He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

John 18:30-38: 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied,
“we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected.

32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.
What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.
If it were, my servants would fight
to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.
But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Matthew 27:19: 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat,
his wife sent him this message:
“Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man,
for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Reflection: At the mere mention of Jesus’ name, the soldiers/guards fell back to the ground. What power, what strength, what a reminder of how easy it would have been at any moment for the Lord Jesus to call down angels, to wipe out the Roman soldiers, to spare Himself from the upcoming suffering. We must not miss this point, loved ones—when most of us suffer, if we truly could stop the suffering, if we had an eject button, we would hit it. Done. Most of us suffer in situations where there is no way out. But Jesus had a way out at any time, at every moment. And He chose not to hit the button—He chose to go all the way in His love for the Father and for us…

Jesus healed the ear of one of those sent to arrest Him, potentially one of those who would just minutes later be mocking Him and striking Him on the face. Even at His time of suffering and need, Jesus is putting others ahead of Himself, He is passing out mercy to those who are merciless. Please reflect on this, loved ones: many think Christianity is all about rules, rules rules rules. There ARE rules in God’s family & Kingdom—no doubt about it. But EVERY rule that God gives us, He lives out that rule, He walks the talk. Every hard thing Jesus commands us to do as His disciples, He has done that difficult thing Personally. He truly is the God Who understands our situations….

Herod was eager to see Jesus, Herod wanted to see Jesus for a long time…but not in humility, surrender and worship. Herod was simply looking for a magic trick, a miracle to entertain him. Loved ones, that is how many people look at Jesus today—we only look at Him for what He can do for us in an earthly sense: solve this problem, get us out of this situation, bless us with more money, PROVE to us that He is God by meeting OUR expectations. Jesus stood silently in front of Herod when Herod wanted Jesus in this way; isn’t it wise to think that Jesus would stand silently in our lives when we only call on Him for treats?

Finally, Pilate asks the age-old question: “What is Truth?” As one wise Christian has said, Pilate asked the right question to the right Person…BUT didn’t wait for Jesus to answer (Ravi Zacharias). Loved ones, we live in an age where the culture teaches us that truth is relative—whatever you believe is true for you! Jesus teaches the opposite—He says that HE is the way, the Truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father—to heaven!—except through Jesus. Jesus—and the Bible—makes dogmatic statements about God, humans, life, reality, heaven and hell, right and wrong. We either submit & bow to Jesus’ Truth or we break ourselves against it trying to live as if it is not true. What is Truth? WHO is Truth? He is Jesus Christ, and Christ alone…

.
Reading #6: From ‘Praise Him’ To ‘Crucify Him’ In Five Short Days…

John 19:1-16: 19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him.
As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die,
because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace.

“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.
10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said.
“Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me
if it were not given to you from above.
Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting,
“If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.
Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat
at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).
14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover…

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

.
Reading #7: Jesus Is Crucified Between Criminals, By Criminals, For Criminals…

Luke 23:26-27, 32-34 26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

27 A large number of people followed him,
including women who mourned and wailed for him…

…32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.

33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there,
along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 19:19-24 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.
It read: Jesus of Nazareth, 
the King of the Jews.

20 Many of the Jews read this sign,
for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city,
and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” [Psalm 22:18]

So this is what the soldiers did.

Luke 23:35-37: 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.
They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him.
They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Matthew 27:39-43 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him,
shaking their heads 40 and saying,
“You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days,
save yourself!

Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.

42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel!
Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

43 He trusts in God.
Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

Luke 23:38-43: 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him:
“Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him.
“Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?
41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.
But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Reflection: John19:21-22 parallels many of us who try to change the parts of the Bible we don’t like. The LORD replies, “What I have written, I have written.” Without realizing it we create a false-jesus made in our image, made with our values and beliefs and opinions—a jesus who looks and acts exactly like us. Loved ones, we must cry out to God in repentance for such idolatry and to ask Him to accept ALL of His Truth in the Bible. What He has written, He has written, and He will not change one comma to make us feel better. We want God & others to accept us as we are…let’s show God & the Bible the same respect…

“If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.” Pilate made his choice—he would rather the world/culture speak well of him than to have Christ speak well of him. Yes, loved ones, we are in a similar situation today. The culture of this world does not like what is written in the Bible, the culture of this world does not appreciate the dogmatic claims of Christ as sole Ruler of the universe, as the only way to heaven. If we truly and publicly align ourselves with Jesus and His Word—the Bible—we truly are no friend of Caesar, no friend of this culture. But the reverse is true as well.

  • James 4:4: You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

When the Lord Jesus was tempted by the devil for 40 straight days three years earlier, the devil tempted Jesus by saying, “IF You are the Son of God, then do this…” Jesus would NOT be controlled by anyone. This temptation continued on the cross: “IF You are the Son of God, then do this…” Oh loved ones, don’t we do the same? Don’t we sometimes bargain with Jesus, consciously or unconsciously stating that He SHOULD be doing something IF He really is God, or that He shouldn’t be allowing something to happen? Don’t we even bargain with Jesus, saying that if He does such and such or gets us out of a jam, then we will believe, then we will follow Him? Oh loved ones, follow Him because of His character, not because of your circumstances. Let’s follow Him because of what He did for us on Good Friday, not whether or not He makes every Friday good. Let’s not say to Jesus IF you are the Son of God, but instead by His grace let’s say SINCE You are the Son of God, I surrender, I believe, I will follow You forever…

.
Reading #8: Jesus Finishes His Mission…

Matthew 27:45-49: 45 From noon until three in the afternoon
darkness came over all the land.
46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

[John 19:30] 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”

[Luke 23:46] Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Matthew 27:51-54: 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 bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

.
Reading #9: Jesus Is Buried…

John 19:31-38: 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.
He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:

“Not one of his bones will be broken,” [Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20]
37 and, as another scripture says,
“They will look on the one they have pierced.”
[Zecheriah 12:10]

Luke 23:50-56: 50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Reflection: Loved ones, everything that happened to the Lord Jesus happened JUST as God the Father planned, JUST as God the Father said it would. None of it was on accident, none of it was left to chance.

  • Romans 5:6: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
    Christ died for the ungodly.

It is all true, loved ones. We have eyewitness accounts of all that happened here, people who were really there, people who had NOTHING to gain (in an earthly sense) by lying, people who would go to a torturous death themselves proclaiming that it is all true, every comma and period.

The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.
He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

.
Reading #10: What Is Your Response?

John 20:30-31: 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 11:23-26 NIV: Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

Do you believe this?”

Matthew 16:13-17: 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples, 
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah;
and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah,
for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”

Oh loved ones, this is the ultimate question.

Amidst all the opinions about Who the Lord Jesus is–
prophet, wise man, fairy tale, nice guy, King & Savior–

who do you say that He is?

Not that you or I have the power to determine or change who He is,
but how do we apply Him to our lives:

-intellectual idea or fact?

-example for us to be kind to others?

-opiate of the masses?

-full payment for our debt of sin against God the Father,
only ransom that sets us free from slavery to sin?

-philosophy that we hang in our mind like an unworn piece of clothing (with tags on)?

-robe of righteousness that we put on to cover our sinful nakedness?

-cosmetic surgery to enhance our current so-called life?

-full heart transplant to make us newly and fully alive & reborn?

May God the Father reveal to you the true identity of His only begotten Son,
that you may receive, believe and become a child of God, born of God,
that you may be adopted into His family as son or daughter…

The Son of God
became the son of man
so that sons & daughters of men
could become sons & daughters of God [paraphrased from John Calvin, C.S. Lewis]…

Jesus holding sinner (8-24-15)