My prayer is that you will engage in this meditation – it’s not a sermon – it merely seeks to prompt and encounter between you and Jesus on the cross today.

On this day we are reminded that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.

I am sure you will agree, that the story of Jesus life and death, is not a story that humanity would have made up. Humans want victory, the most return for the least input. Victory by strength and power… lightening from heaven to smite enemies:


  • through winning,
  • through being better than ,
  • through avoiding pain and suffering ,
  • and most of all – through avoiding death.

Promises of longevity fill supermarket and pharmacy shelves , in pills and creams and magazine article tips on how to live a long good looking life.

No movie has the hero dying!

In our stories everyone else dies and the Hero comes through wounded but unscathed. You ever noticed that?  In our stories the henchmen of the bad guy fall so easily, and the hero can take multiple beatings and still keep going.

(We learn this from Hollywood..the hero charging down the guns and arrows and canons of the enemy flying past him- on the periphery they are dropping like flies… but not our hero)

The disciples were in that frame of mind, for them the one who turned water into wine, the one who turned some bread and fish from a lunchbox into a feast, the one who made the deaf hear the lame walk and the blind see.

To the disciples He seemed infallible.

Like anyone facing death you have hope till the last minute that the story line will change.

The belief that Jesus would not die was so strong that post the crucifixion a major heresy arose that said it was not him that died on the cross – even after resurrection the reality of death was difficult for many to understand… he didn’t really die he just … Unbelievable! That is why the descriptions of the water and blood flowing from his side is such an important fact – proof.

But Jesus warned his disciples that he was going to allow himself to die.

He said to Pilot – if I was of this world I would my servants would fight to prevent my arrest, but now my Kingdom is from another place (John 18:36)

But he told them that he was not going to avoid this death, and that, they could not understand.

We want a life that is pain free, trouble free and we want a God who makes that happen.

The Disciple in us struggles to accept:

A God who accepts the servant role of washing feet,

a God who allows himself to be betrayed,

a God who allows himself to be falsely accused and put to death,

This is not the sort of God we want, because if He does, he will expect us to do it too, and we don’t want that agony, we want deliverance, avoidance and overcoming.

Let’s spend a moment in prayer reflecting upon what we have had reordered in our lives this lent.

How God has called us to join him in a different way of living – Not from power over, but with power for.

GOOD FRIDAY is a reminder that God’s way is not our way. And we can have one of two responses.                                  The one is – “it may be Friday but Sunday is a – coming “where we follow the end in mind approach and say -its fine to suffer now because in the end there will be no suffering – so we still avoid the reality saying that actually it’s just about the resurrection and not about the crucifixion.

The other is to enter with Christ into the reality of life:  as he did – incarnational – from the beginning he lived life with its constraints….he lived life vulnerable to the realities of life – not just facing temptations in the one short 40days of his life – but every day – from birth till resurrection

We must enter life, not cynically, not resigning ourselves to suffering, but understanding that when we truly embrace life and its pain and its loss and its betrayals and disappointments – then we are truly alive and truly overcoming because when we are not avoiding reality, then we are living the way the truth and the life.

Then we are free to feel – and have emotions and fears and joys – we are free to be alive because our emotions don’t define us – they just express how we feel…

But if we allow ourselves to feel, we have to allow others to feel too.  Allow others to be angry and demanding and sad and happy and have desires – in our human nature we want people to behave like robots – always have the right response… well that’s not possible… that’s not life! 

No wonder so many turned away. No wonder we avoid this day. No wonder we say how can this be possible?

But as Jesus says “with humankind many things are not possible but in God all things are possible.”

It’s why our liturgy and tradition impress me so much, because we are drawn into a story where denial and avoidance has no place. We participate in the fullness of God’s love for us, the reality of life, a place where our feet get dirty; a place where we get tired, a place where we don’t want to be,  just as Jesus said “let this cup pass from me” just as Jesus said “isn’t there another way?”

Reflect on how you need to face the fears of life… head on … because of the cross of Jesus … the way of the cross is not just suffering – it is real living.

We have a God that knows how we feel, in the middle of the night when we are tossing and turning.

We have a God who knows how we feel when we are suffocating, under the stress of our lives.

We have a God who understands us in our weakness.

Because we have a God who has been there, we have a God who understands our lives and is not running away from them.

The cross of Jesus is a victory because it overcomes the power of death and sin, and it frees us to experience the goodness of God.

God does not simply embrace suffering – he overcomes it.  The cross is not the destination,  resurrection is the destination but the way of the cross is the path to that resurrection.

The Hebrew Name for God is YAHWEH and it is said by breathing in – Yah and breathing out WEH. Every breath is a proclamation of God, it is an acknowledgement that every breath we take is a gift from God…

Death by crucifixion is through suffocation. It is achieved by making it so difficult to say YAHWEH that you die.

Every breath we take is a proclamation of the NAME OF GOD and life tries to prevent us from speaking it.

In our own lives when we get to the point of saying “my God My God why have your forsaken me” it is a realisation that we need to deepen our relationship with God.

The wisdom teachers remind us that this is what we experience as the “dark night of the soul’ and this is the point that we are draw into deeper relationship with God.

The way of the cross teaches us that when we think that all is lost, that is when God is doing his greatest work.

God’s pattern for life uses every hurt every betrayal every loss, for our good.


We should not seek suffering and we should always stand against the injustice that causes it.

We should not invite trouble and think that being persecuted is a good way of discerning that we are on the right path – because it depends on what we are being persecuted for.


Being a Christian and following the way of the cross means doing what is required when it is required and how it is required, and we can only achieve that if we act in obedience to God.


We can only do that when we acknowledge that our human nature will always want a way out, but that when we are in any situation we need to stop, pray, and be willing to do it God’s way. And God’s way will require some sacrifice, it will require thinking about other people first, it will require caring more for other’s souls than for our own comfort.

JESUS spoke from the cross to comfort those at the foot of the cross – not for his own benefit! He was not grandstanding…


We are not given to a morbid, self-defacing, self-suffering victim mentality. Jesus didn’t do that…

We are given to a do what ever it takes, to stand up for what is right, walk in the Spirit of God, and give of ourselves to God, to be used in His eternal plan.  

Our greatest strength is that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ – when we are doing this Christ’s way… therein is perfection…


Our greatest strength is that we can never be defeated through insults or hardships or trouble or doubt or fear or anxiety.

Even if your life is a shipwreck – God can draw you home


For Jesus does not sit at a distance and say – oh you really should do better and you should really be better.

Jesus comes into our brokenness and there brings us HOPE.

  • Hope, that there is nothing so broken that He can’t fix it.
  • Hope, that there is nothing so lost that he can’t find it.
  • Hope, that there is nothing so injured that HE can’t heal it.

And that is why we call today:   GOOD FRIDAY!


Lord by your Holy Cross you have healed the world.

But friends you have to embrace the cross of JESUS.

There were three crosses on Calvary that day – but only one saved you!

Luke 23:39 – 40 

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?”

 It is possible to be crucified alongside Christ and demand that he save us – we can even suffocate alongside Jesus grumbling about our lot in life and in essence, hurling insults.

You see it is possible for us to live life alongside Jesus – to sing his praises, proclaim the words of his bible, chant his liturgy.

We need to transition from being with Christ to in Christ


It is possible to live a life of repentance acknowledging that Jesus is perfect and we are not, repentance as saying sorry, I’ll try better….Lord, Lord save yourself and us


We need to transition to grow beyond believing in who Jesus is and that he is there to bring about salvation for us;

We need to join Jesus in saving the world by loving the world back to God

We need to be crucified with Christ.

Jesus recitation of Palm 23 has much to teach us – as we are called to speak God’s love over a broken and hurting world.

In Jesus day the bible was not numbered like ours is – when a Psalm was to be recited – the leader would say the first line and the people would complete the psalm.

In this Psalm we join Jesus when we with St Paul say:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body,     I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Carrying our cross we speak words of hope over a broken world, endure heartache for that broken world.


In Genesis chapter 1: verses 3,6,9,11,14, 20 and 24

GOD SAID – and the world was created – and now Jesus continues the act of creating as he speaks from the cross.

In biblical terms speech is a creative force and so Jesus speaks to create a new heart in us.


When Jesus was on the cross he spoke seven times and on one of those occasions he said these words:


This is the opening line of Psalm 22 and by reciting them he was in fact reciting the whole of Psalm 22


We recite this psalm at the Maundy Thursday, as we stripped the altar.

Jesus was not saying that he was forsaken – he was saying that he felt like Israel had felt when sin overcame them!

Jesus was carrying the sins of the whole world and he cried out to God to rescue him – but the weight of the sin was great!

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from my words of groaning? I cry out by day, O my God, but You do not answer, and by night, but I have no rest.”

This opening verse pretty much describes the Human condition – Jesus is identifying with us – and he wants us to examine the Psalm and learn from it!

Yahweh – every word calling out to God – pulling on the nails as he tried to breathe, speaking through his own pain to move our hearts…


Having acknowledged the plight of sinful man Jesus acknowledges that God alone is Holy.

3 “Yet You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4In You our fathers trusted; they trusted, and You delivered them. 5They cried out to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disappointed.”

Jesus reminds us that God is faithful..

As we endure the hardships of life we too must draw on the bigger story of what God has done in History.


The psalmist acknowledges the sinfulness of humankind – Jesus is carrying that sin ..

6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.

7All who see me mock me; they sneer and shake their heads:

Luke 23: 35 and 36 records how

“The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him and came up to offer Him sour wine.“If You are the King of the Jews,” they said, “save Yourself!”

It was our sin that nailed him there…. It was our scorn and shame that he was enduring for us….


Psalm 22 Continues and Jesus hears from the cross –  –

8“He trusts in the LORD, let the LORD deliver him; let the LORD rescue him, since He delights in him.”

Luke 23:  “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

The Gospeler recorded  – When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He is calling Elijah.” But the others said, “Leave Him alone. Let us see if Elijah comes to save Him.”

But Elijah has come – and Jesus is winning a victory over death – in the face of this adversity – loving those that are taunting him..


14 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.

15 My strengthc is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. “You lay me in the dust of death. – I do wonder what the Psalmist was referring to; we know what Jesus was referring to

John 19: 28After this, knowing that everything had now been accomplished, and to fulfill the Scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”d 29A jar of sour winee was sitting there. So they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted it to His mouth.f 30When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 

“It is finished.” And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit.

It is Finished , it is accomplished  – the curtain was torn in two and the divide between man and God was overcome and the Holy Spirit would be given to all who asked Jesus for it…

19 “But You, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of wild dogs.

21Save me from the mouth of the lion; at the horns of the wild oxen You have answered me!”

Jesus is not defeated – sin is – God is with us Immanuel – he is our strength and our shield and our rampart…

And as a result of what Christ has one for us and in us we will have been transformed into ambassadors of reconciliation

22I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the assembly. 23You who fear the LORD, praise Him!

All descendants of Jacob, honor Him! All offspring of Israel, revere Him!

For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. He has not hidden His face from him, but has attended to his cry for help.

25My praise for You resounds in the great assembly; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You.

26The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise Him.

May your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD. All the families of the nations will bow down before Him. 28For dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over the nations.


You see this is what Jesus claimed to be achieving on the cross we seldom look past the first line of the psalm –

Today as we commemorate what Jesus has done for us let us dig deep and go the distance with Jesus and be transformed into his likeness.

as we journey with Christ through the reality of life even with its suffering and death  – for we know it will bring us to a joyful resurrection.

It is accomplished! For dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over the nations. Both now and throughout all eternity


Author: admin

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