We call it Good Friday. But what’s so good about Good Friday?
Jesus was despised and rejected by men, bludgeoned by evil, cursed for hanging on a tree, crucified between two criminals, and forsaken by his Father. Is that a Good Friday? Sounds more like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Friday.
However, what man meant for evil, God meant for good.
Good Friday is good because our sin debt was paid in full.
Good Friday is good because God was reconciling man to himself.
Good Friday is good because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Now that’s a Good Friday!
Washington DC is home to embassies from nearly 200 countries around the world. From Cameroon to Kyrgyzstan, skilled ambassadors come to build peaceful relations with the most powerful country on earth.
However, the gospel has the power to make peace better than hundreds of the best diplomats found on Embassy Row. That’s because Jesus is a peacemaker.
The Bible says, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” He also “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2).
Jesus is the one and only Divine Diplomat who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:9).
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . peace” (Gal. 5:22).
“Make every effort to live at peace with all men” (Heb. 12:14).
Are you starting to get the idea? Here’s another one: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Those are the words of Jesus from Matthew chapter 5 and verse 9. It’s the peacemaker not the peacekeeper that is blessed, and certainly not the troublemaker.
It’s always better to resolve a conflict than dissolve a relationship.
According to medical experts, cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over forty. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It requires surgery to remove a cataract and restore sight.
Spiritual cataracts are far more serious. They’re common among God’s people at any age. They form when we allow the corrupt and impure influences of this world to enter our hearts and cloud our spiritual vision.
Does it seem like you’re in a fog and can’t see God? Is your spiritual vision hazy? Maybe you need spiritual cataract surgery.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt. 5:8).
Oscar the Grouch is a Muppet character on the television program Sesame Street. He’s a green monster with a prickly personality who lives in a trash can. He actually proclaims his affection for trash with a song called, “I Love Trash.”
Like Oscar, some people I know love trash. They must because they fill their minds with trashy thoughts from trashy music, trashy movies and trashy television programs. They even love to read trashy romance novels.
Are you a trash can or a temple? As a believer in Jesus Christ, remember this: your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Hey, don’t you think it’s time to take out the trash?
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” (Matt. 18:21)
Peter might have thought he was being generous by offering to forgive his brother seven times. The Rabbis taught that only three times was necessary.
“I tell you, not seven times, but up to seventy times seven,” Jesus replied. At that precise moment, Peter and the other disciples learned that forgiveness has no limits.
Is there somebody you need to forgive today? Is it in your power to extend mercy? What are you waiting for?
Peter Kreeft is right when he says, “Mercy is our only hope from God, and our neighbors’ only hope from us as well.”
Imagine yourself as a defendant in a court of law. The prosecuting attorney has rested his case and you await the verdict from the jury. “All rise,” says the bailiff. You then hear the words every defendant dreads: “Guilty as charged!”
What now? Your only hope is that the judge is merciful.
Fortunately for guilty sinners like you and me, the Judge of the Universe is “rich in mercy.” God has more mercy than all the millionaires and billionaires in the world have money. Though he is merciful, he is not lenient.
Somebody had to pay the penalty for our sin. Yes, that Somebody was the one who said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My souls thirsts for God, the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2)
What are you panting for in life? What is your heart’s one desire? Do you truly want God more than gold and silver? Have you come to that place in life where God and God alone is your ultimate thirst quencher?
So many other things in life compete for that place. Money, fame, sex, power―each leaving us thirstier than before.
Is your soul parched? Come to the ancient streams of water and discover how blessed are those who “thirst after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6).
Have you ever been so hungry that your stomach growls like a lion? Has your mouth ever felt as thirsty as the Sahara Desert? Have you ever longed for God so much that your soul ached?
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
What are you eating to satisfy your spiritual hunger? What are you drinking to quench your thirsty soul?
Supremely blessed is the person who finds his satisfaction in God. Happy is the one who finds himself right with God and others.
So, gorge yourself on God today. Flood your heart with him and he will surely fill you to overflowing.
Jesus, meek and gentle,
Son of God most high,
Gracious, loving Savior,
Hear Thy children’s cry.
This little hymn, written in 1836, unintentionally paints a confusing picture of Jesus. Granted, Jesus did say, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). But words like “meek” change in meaning over time.
Timid, mild, weak, and docile might be synonyms of meekness today. But in no way do these words describe someone in the first century, let alone Jesus.
In Bible times, meekness is a gentle disposition that characterizes a powerful person who remains under control. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s also the secret to having it all.
That’s why Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”