GOOD FRIDAY

Message by Alan Welsh on Easter Friday, 10 April 2020.

You can watch the recording of Alan’s message on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alan.welsh.73/videos/10217998342611762/

On Easter Sunday we will be sharing a Zoom session as a church. Details have been shared to the church, but will not be published publically. If you would like details, please get in touch.

GOOD AFTERNOON, THE HOUR OF 3 O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON IS TRANSLATED BY MANY BIBLE SCHOLARS AS THE TIME OF DEATH OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS, AND AT THIS HOUR ON THIS GOOD FRIDAY WE CONSIDER, HOW CAN GOOD COME OUT OF BAD?

ON GOOD FRIDAY WE TAKE TIME TO REMEMBER, CHRIST HANGING ON THE CROSS, WITH ALL THE SUFFERING HE WENT THROUGH, ALTHOUGH INNOCENT STILL HE TOOK ON THE MANTLE OF SUFFERING FOR OUR SIN.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF WHAT WE RECALL ON THAT DAY ARE ANYTHING BUT GOOD, YET TO THE VERY END OF THAT FIRST GOOD FRIDAY, JESUS STILL LED SINNERS TO ETERNAL LIFE.

THE CRUCIFIXION ITSELF IS A WELL RESEARCHED FACT IN HISTORY, WITH SCHOLARS OF ALL BACKGROUNDS, CHRISTIAN AND NON-CHRISTIAN AGREEING THAT THE EVIDENCE IS NOW ‘FIRMLY ESTABLISHED’ THAT THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST IS CONFIRMED AS INDISPUTABLE.

ON THIS VERY DAY WE REMEMBER, THERE WERE THREE CROSSES, WITH 2 CRIMINALS HANGING ONE EITHER SIDE OF CHRIST, EACH OF THEM PORTRAY THE DIFFERENT RESPONSES THAT STILL CONTINUE TODAY.

LUKE 23: 39 – 43 SAYS, ONE OF THE CRIMINALS WHO HUNG THERE HURLED INSULTS AT HIM, “AREN’T YOU THE CHRIST? SAVE YOURSELF AND US!”

BUT THE OTHER CRIMINAL REBUKED HIM, ‘DON’T YOU FEAR GOD,’ HE SAID ‘SINCE YOU ARE UNDER THE SAME SENTANCE? WE ARE PUNISHED JUSTLY, FOR WE ARE GETTING WHAT OUR DEEDS DESERVE. BUT THIS MAN HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG’.

THEN HE SAID “JESUS, REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM.”

JESUS ANSWERED HIM “I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.”

WE READ IN THOSE FINAL HOURS, AS JESUS ACCEPTED HIS IMMINENT DEATH, HIS MERCY AND COMPASSION STILL EVIDENT, HIS FOCUS WAS NOT ON HIMSELF.

WITH TWO PRISONERS NEXT TO HIM, HE HAD TO CONTEND WITH THE INSULTS FROM ONE “GO ON, SAVE YOURSELF AND US WHILE YOUR AT IT” WHILE THE OTHER PRISONER MAKES A REQUEST.

HAS MUCH CHANGED TODAY, WHEN MANY WILL DISMISS JESUS AND DISBELIEVE THAT HIS DEATH WAS FOR OUR SAKE, EVEN INSULTING HIS NAME OR SAYING “THERE’S NO WAY THAT HAPPENED”.

FOR SOME IT’S EASIER TO DENY THIS TRUTH BECAUSE IT WOULD MEAN ADMITTING THAT WE ARE SINNERS,

NOT A VERY POPULAR STATEMENT, WHEN PEOPLE ARE SO EASILY OFFENDED BECAUSE YOU ARE DENYING THEIR RIGHT TO BE WHO THEY ARE,

THE TRUTH IS, THIS IS NOT ABOUT DENYING ANYBODY ANYTHING, THIS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT JESUS OFFERS, THE WORD OF GOD IS FULFILLED THROUGH HIM.

Romans 3:23-25 Living Bible (TLB)

23 Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; 24 yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.

TWO CRIMINALS BOTH OF WHOM WERE AWARE THEY WERE SINNERS, WHEN IT WAS SAID, “WE ARE GETTING WHAT OUR DEEDS DESERVE”,

THEY WERE FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF ACCEPTING CHRIST FOR WHO HE IS, THEY EACH MAKE THEIR DESCISION JUST AS WE DO TODAY.

ONE THROWS INSULTS AND CHOOSES TO IGNORE THE FORGIVENESS OFFERED THROUGH CHRIST,

WHILE THE OTHER RECOGNISES EVEN IN HIS FINAL HOURS THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR HIM TO MAKE.

SOMETHING GOOD CAME OUT OF A BAD SITUATION, THAT IS STILL TRUE FOR  EACH OF US TODAY.

GOOD FRIDAY WITH ALL THE TORMENT AND SUFFERING OF CHRIST THAT WE ARE REMINDED OF WAS ON OUR BEHALF, IT CAN LEAD US TO MAKE A CHOICE.

WILL WE FIND GOOD IN  WHAT WAS BAD?, REMEMBER THAT CHRIST OFFERS FORGIVENESS FOR OUR SIN,

WE DON’T KNOW THE DETAILS OF WHAT THE TWO CRIMINALS ACTUALLY DONE TO DESERVE BEING HUNG ON A CROSS, BUT WE DO KNOW THAT THEY BELIEVED IT WAS JUST.

ONE WANTED AN EASY WAY OUT, WITH NO FORGIVENESS, NO RECOGNITION OF WHAT CHRIST WAS DOING FOR THEM (AND US) JUST, “GET US DOWN FROM HERE”.

WHILST THE OTHER MAN, RECOGNISING THE INNOCENCE OF CHRIST SUFFERING FOR NO CRIME, ASKS THAT HE WOULD BE REMEBERED WHEN CHRIST ENTERS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST WAS EXTENDED TO HIM WITH “TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE”.

THE SAME OFFER HE STILL EXTENDS TODAY TO ALL THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM AND ACCEPT THAT HE IS THE CHRIST, OUR SAVIOUR.

I DON’T THINK I’LL EVER FORGET THIS GOOD FRIDAY, WHEN I CAN’T MEET WITH THE FAMILY OF GOD TO CELEBRATE ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE DAYS IN HISTORY, WHEN THE LOVE OF GOD WAS DISPLAYED FOR ALL TO SEE AND REMEMBER.

BUT, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF WHAT WE ARE FACING TODAY WITH THE COVID-19 VIRUS AND ALL THE RESTRICTIONS THAT GO WITH IT.

WHAT WILL YOUR CHOICE BE?, IS IT THE REQUEST TO GOD THAT HE JUST GETS THIS OVER WITH AND LET ME GET BACK TO A “NORMAL” LIFE WITH NO GRATITUDE.

OR WILL YOU TRUST GOD AT THIS TIME AND ASK THAT JESUS WOULD REMEMBER US,

THE TRUTH IS JESUS HAS REMEMBERED US THAT’S WHY HE HUNG ON THE CROSS FOR YOU AND I.

GOOD CAN COME OUT OF BAD WHEN WE MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE, I HOPE YOU MAKE JESUS YOUR CHOICE TODAY.

THIS GOOD FRIDAY FOR YOU CAN BE LIKE NO OTHER AS WE TAKE THE TIME TO CONSIDER ALL THAT CHRIST HAS GIVEN FOR US, ALL OF US.

THE FREEDOM TO MAKE A CHOICE BASED ON TRUTH, THAT SIN HAS BEEN DEFEATED, AND CHRIST WILL FORGIVE THOSE WHO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS AND TURN FROM THEIR SIN.

I MADE A CHOICE 40 YEARS AGO TO TRUST IN CHRIST, AND IT’S AS TRUE FOR ME TODAY AS IT WAS ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, I THANK GOD THAT HE HAD SHOWN ME HOW TO GET GOOD OUT OF BAD, I HOPE AND PRAY THAT IT WILL BE THE SAME FOR YOU THIS GOOD FRIDAY.

AS YOU ALL KEEP SAFE AND WELL, TAKE THE TIME TO CELEBRATE AT HOME THAT JESUS STILL FORGIVES, FOR WHAT SEEMED BAD, GOD TURNED INTO GOOD.

GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR HIS SON.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU THIS GOOD FRIDAY AS WE NOW LOOK AHEAD TO THE WONDERFUL CELEBRATION OF CHRIST’S RESSURECTION ON SUNDAY, HE HAS RISEN, JESUS IS ALIVE.

AMEN.

THANKS AND TAKE CARE.