GOOD Friday

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? That God has an ultimate plan and is in supreme control? Do you believe this even when you are uncomfortable or don't fully understand the situation you have found yourself in. Let me assure you that God is in control and if you are his child he means nothing but good for you. Today we remember the darkest day in the history of the world. Many people did not understand what was happening on that day. Some might have thought God heartless and cruel. Those who believed Jesus was who he said he was, the Son of God, were wracked with confusion and grief.

I was asked to read this passage at our church's Good Friday service tonight. It strikes me that this passage is from Isaiah, written many years before the Messiah came. Please read. Isaiah 52:13 -53:12 (Good News Version)

13 The Lord says, My servant will succeed in his task; he will be highly honored.

14 Many people were shocked when they saw him; he was so disfigured that he hardly looked human.

15 But now many nations will marvel at him, and kings will be speechless with amazement. They will see and understand something they had never known.

 1 The people reply, Who would have believed what we now report? Who could have seen the Lord's hand in this?

2 It was the will of the Lord that his servant  grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.  He had no dignity or beauty to make us take notice of him. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing that would draw us to him.

 3 We despised him and rejected him; he endured suffering and pain.  No one would even look at him,   we ignored him as if he were nothing.

4 But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne.  All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God.

5 But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.

 6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way.  But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved.

 7 He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly;   he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word.

 8 He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die, and no one cared about his fate.  He was put to death for the sins of our people.

9 He was placed in a grave with those who are evil, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie.

 10 The Lord says, It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.    And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed.

11 After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.

12 And so I will give him a place of honor, a place among the great and powerful.  He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men. He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven.

As we remember today all the events leading up to Christ's death let us remember that everything happened according to God's plan and purpose. From Jesus being ordinary and forgettable, to him being misunderstood and despised, and finally to him laying down his life for us, sinners deserving of the death that he endured, all of it was according to God's sovereign plan. Let us thank God today for making a way for us through the humiliation and suffering of his Son.