25 Mar A Good Friday for BAD People
Have you ever been rejected by someone that loves you? Someone that should’ve known better but didn’t do better for you? Did they swear to you that they would NEVER hurt you and then turn around and hurt you anyway?
Yep. I know exactly how that feels. So does Jesus.
On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight ALL of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will NEVER desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
“No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will NEVER deny you!” And ALL the other disciples vowed the same.
This is BAD! Really really bad. People are SO bad.
I always think about how Peter felt in those moments where he denied his relationship with Jesus. How could he have done that? What torment and guilt he must have felt.
So many thoughts here.
I know in my life when I have sinned, the anguish is so intense that I feel like I’m suffocating. What is even more alarming is all the times that I have sinned and it DOESN’T even phase me. That complacent attitude towards sin is repulsive and disgusting.
What it took for Jesus to endure the cross, warrants my indentured servitude, not a flippant justification of why I sin.
Sin is BAD. But where does that sin come from? PEOPLE. US!!! There are BAD people EVERYWHERE. We’d all agree with that, right? You can’t count on anyone. You can’t trust anyone. Everyone wants to be in control, do what they want, when they want. People do horrible things to other people.
So how can we say that this is GOOD FRIDAY? Isn’t this the day that Christians remember the death of their Savior? What GOOD is there in the DEATH of Jesus? Sure, it IS Friday. But where does that little word “GOOD” come in? Here’s what we know for sure.
1. ALL will desert Jesus. Some versions say “fall away”. ALL will.
I don’t know whether to be ashamed, guilty or completely relieved at this sentence of truth. In my 33 years of being saved, I have deserted Jesus so many times. Lack of faith, anger, not getting what I thought I wanted, fear. It is CLEAR in these passages, that Jesus didn’t “change His mind” just because they deserted Him.
He knew they would. He told them that He knew that they would not do right by Him.
Yet in verse 32, “after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there,” Jesus fills them in on His plans. So they are still in His ‘trusted’ circle. Not burning in hell where they belong. Where I belong. THIS IS HUGE, people!
2. Never say NEVER.
How dare we judge Peter? If we think for one minute that this couldn’t happen to us, we are WRONG. Peter loved Jesus. Jesus loved Peter. Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would. He denied Jesus. Three times.
We need to get over ourselves and realize that we are wretched and need the grace of Jesus every moment of every day or we too, will “fall away”and deny Jesus.
3. Even though people didn’t do right by Him, He ALWAYS did right by others.
These men were in His trusted circle. He did life with these guys. They had access to Him and prayed and ate and did ministry WITH Jesus. Jesus is telling his FRIENDS what is going to happen, knowing that they will FAIL Him. And adamantly Peter says, “NO! I will NEVER deny you!” I have to tell you. I would say the EXACT same thing that Peter did. And I’d mean EVERY word of it.
One Good Friday tradition for many has been to watch Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of the Christ” movie. There is a scene where the rooster crows, and Peter DENYS Jesus 3 times, just as Jesus said he would. They are leading Jesus away to jail and Peter is hanging back in the crowd and there is this moment as their eyes lock on each other. That scene literally RIPS my heart out. Peter KNOWS that Jesus KNOWS that he has denied Him, just as He said. And what did Jesus do? He went to the cross for PETER, the one that HURT him and for ALL of us. Talk about taking your breath away?
How would any of us respond if we KNEW ahead of time that someone we loved was going to hurt us?
And this is why we call it GOOD Friday.
“But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Even though WE did not deserve to be forgiven, Jesus died for us on the cross, forever paying our debt of sin and providing a way for us to be with Him forever…IF we CHOOSE to receive the gift of salvation that only Jesus can give.
So what does that mean?
Good Friday is for BAD PEOPLE! You and me!
You are a “GOOD” person you say?
The bible says that all have sinned and are separated from God because of that sin. Sin is anything that goes against God and His word. There HAS to be a punishment or payment of that sin debt.
No one can MAKE us sin. We have a choice. On our own, we could never make the perfect choice – EVER. We will fail. We will sin.
God loved us and knew that we could NEVER be good enough to NOT sin and that we could never be good enough to pay the debt that we owed. So God sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sins and pay our debt. Jesus took our place so that we wouldn’t have to go to a place, the bible calls “hell”.
Jesus didn’t do anything wrong. EVER. He was without sin. And yet…(I love that word) Jesus, went to the cross because He LOVES us. We couldn’t earn His love, buy His love or manipulate His love. He FREELY gives us His love and if we CHOOSE to believe what He did as the truth, in FAITH we place our trust in Him, we turn from our sin and we ask Him to be the boss of our lives forever.
The bible says that when we choose to make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we are “born again”. We are truly SAVED.
“For God SO (extravagantly/obsessively) loved the WORLD (us) that He GAVE His one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall NOT perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Have you fallen away?
Have you deserted Jesus?
Have you denied Him?
Don’t let crud in your life, keep you from a relationship with the One who loves you the most. There is nothing that He won’t forgive. He is always faithful. He is incapable of not loving you. Even when we don’t do what we should, He loves us. He doesn’t take a moment or years to “get over His hurt.” He NEVER stops loving us. It’s impossible for Him to do that.
With one word…JESUS…you can begin again.
GOOD FRIDAY is a Friday for BAD PEOPLE! And to that we can say Hallelujah, Thank you, Jesus and AMEN!