Tag Archives: Good Friday

“Out with the Old, In with the New”

12 Apr

Merry Easter!

My hunch is that no one said this to you this year. If they did, avoid them, they’re odd.

Derelict HouseThey’re odd because custom dictates that at Christmas we’re merry and at Easter we’re ‘happy’. Come to think of it, it may be the custom that’s odd. It’s odd also that Christmas is essentially condensed into one day (although, granted, there is much merriment surrounding that day) while the spoils of Easter celebration are divided between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Has no one ever thought of instead holding some sort of ‘Super Saturday’ event?

Why is it that Christmas comes once but Easter repeats in the space of a few days?

I think the essential answer is this: At Christmas we celebrate one truth – God takes on flesh. At Easter we celebrate two truths – Jesus died, Jesus rose again.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul wants to remind the church of the Gospel, one whole truth, one whole message. But it comes in two bite sized chunks that are of equal importance. Have a look if you don’t believe me. The Gospel according to Paul is on the one hand (Friday) Jesus death & burial for our sins and on the other hand (Sunday) His rising to life again. It isn’t an either or, it’s a both and. Easter is essentially a dual celebration, celebrating Jesus doing, “Out with the old, In with the New.”

Here’s an illustration I used in church on Easter Sunday:

Imagine you buy a plot of land with a house on it. You buy it so you have somewhere to live. The only problem is that the house that stands there is dangerous, really dangerous. It’s dilapidated and it’s been condemned. You wont live in it and if you tried to you’d probably die.

So what do you do? You knock the house down (or get a team of experts in to demolish it for you.) You totally flatten it and remove the imminent danger. Problem solved right?

Well no. The immediate danger has been taken care of but you still don’t have anywhere to live. Just as important as ripping down the old is building a new dwelling in its place. So yet again you hire some professionals to design and build your dream home.

Problem solved.

MansionThis is a bit like Easter. Jesus comes and dies for our sins because they have left us in a very dangerous place, a place that inevitably leads to death. But if that’s it, if the danger of death is removed and nothing more, then we don’t have the Gospel, we don’t have ‘great news.’ Jesus comes and dies for our sins AND rises to life again. He takes down the dangerous house and replaces it with beautiful, glorious mansion. he takes away the imminent death and replaces it with eternal life.

And that’s why we can’t have a ‘Super Saturday’.  There’s too much to cram in, there’s too great a risk we’d remember one over the other. We need to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Jesus’ Gospel work is in two acts but both depend on the other. He died to take away our sins and rose to give us new life.

Hallelujah!

 

Redeemed?

22 Apr Good Friday - Easter

Good Friday - EasterToday is Good Friday. What a curious day. To the world it should really be known as ‘morbid Friday’, as Christians far and wide celebrate the murder of one of histories most highly regarded humans.

To Christians, who see it as one of the most important events in human history, it should probably be called ‘great Friday’ or some other, far stronger adjective.

So which is it? Or should it be some 4th option? (a – Good Friday, b – Morbid Friday, c – Outstanding Friday or d – a.n.other)

Peter (the apostle, not your mate from school) saw it like this as he reminded the persecuted church exactly who they were:

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

For Peter at least, it should be called ‘Redemption Friday’. Let’s have a quick history lesson.

The most famous example of redemption in the OT is Israel’s redemption from Egypt. They were saved from being slaves to Pharaoh to being God’s own people. In a similar way we as Christians have been saved from being slaves to sin to being adopted children of God.

More than this though are the consequences of the various states. Israel, in captivity, were brutalised and mistreated. As God’s people they were blessed and given their own land. A complete change in circumstances. In a similar way we as Christians under sin, as slaves, were able to inherit only death. As adopted children of God we can have life. A complete change in circumstances.

One final comparison. Israel’s famous redemption wasn’t just conceptual, it was linked to an event, the Exodus. For as Christians our redemption isn’t just the shuffling of some papers, but an event, Jesus shedding his blood.

As Jesus, still nailed to the Cross, uttered those most compelling of words, “It is finished!” He confirmed for all creation to hear that He had redeemed His people.

I’m going to suggest a 5th name for today, Flippin’ Amazing Redemption Friday. How about it?

(Here’s the sermon audio that I preached on this topic in our recent Good Friday Service)

Easter is Approaching

18 Mar

…and I’m really enjoying pouring over some resources that people have been putting out to communicate the vital message that comes with it. There are loads of great stuff (and a shed load of awful stuff too) that churches can be using jus to mix thins up.

One such resource is this spoken word presentation of the Gospel.

It’s all particularly poignant at the moment as we’re going through the final few chapters of John’s Gospel in church at the moment. In the garden we see Jesus resolve in the face of foreknowledge. On the Cross we see his obedience in the face of condemnation.

One word, powerful: