Good Friday, 47 years ago, I received a precious gift. I became a Mom! It was March 27, 1970. God knows how I treasure special dates, so he gave me my girl on a day I always treasure. He then welcomed my girl to her eternal home on the day that the Queen of Lights is celebrated in Sweden (Lucia), on December 13, 2001.
My precious girl was welcomed to heaven because Jesus opened the way. My mother is there, my mother-in-law, and my dear husband. Thanks to Jesus I have the hope of meeting them again. My daughter Carina and her family will also be there with us.
Do you have a living hope for eternity? Jesus took the punishment for your sins on the cross. He offers you forgiveness, just like he did to the criminal crucified together with him. Everyone is welcome to receive his forgiving grace.
There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 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, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:38-43
“Remember me…” was all the criminal asked for. It’s not complicated. Just acknowledge Jesus, repent of your sins, and confess him as Lord.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
I’ve been reading this week the story of Jesus and the cross. My heart was moved once again by the awful treatment he receive. And he suffered all for me! And for you!
I made a list.
- They spit in his face
- They struck him
- They slapped him
- The priests bound him
- Pilate flogged him
- The soldiers stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe
- They put a crown of thorns on his head
- They put a reed in his right hand mocking him
- They struck him on the head with the reed
- The soldiers divided his garments among them
- The chief priests mocked him
- They spit on him
- They blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!”
- The guards took him and beat him
- Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt
- The crowds shouted, “Crucify him!”
- The soldiers offered him sour wine
- The officers struck him
What was Jesus reaction to all this?
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
When the mob came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter drew out his sword to defend Jesus, this is what Jesus said,
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:54-56
Jesus did not defend himself, because the purpose of his coming was to offer his life as a sacrifice for our sins.
That is what we remember today, on Good Friday.