A couple of days after our Good Friday services, I received this note from a Northshore mom:
Great services this weekend! Thanks so much for all your preparation and heart. It was so special to have our kids with us in service on Good Friday
My 4th grade daughter’s eyes were glued to you as you described what Jesus had to endure at the cross. And while my protective mommy-side didn’t want her to hear these things, its important that we look at what really happened. We talked about it afterwards, and we emphasized the gratefulness that we need to show Jesus for what He did for us.
Also, our 2nd grade son was able to take Communion for the first time at the Good Friday service. I was teary as I watched him pray during communion (we apparently left out the part about praying silently). So sweet.
Watching my kids’ hearts being transformed is breathtaking. My greatest joy in life! These services are prime training and teaching opportunities for us as parents. Its new to them (my kids), and its a joy to walk them through these basic yet life changing pieces of faith.
It is our responsibility as gospel-centered parents to train our children in the way of Jesus… His life for ours… and our life because of His!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16
If you’ve ever read John’s Gospel, these words of Jesus are all the more startling when you know where this road of love will lead. For God so loved the world… that’s you… that’s me. And His love is a giving love… that He gave His only begotten Son. And this gift will rend the Father’s heart, as He looks away when our sin is heaped upon the Son’s shoulders upon that cross. …that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. His death for our life. This is the gift of love.
As you come tonight to reflect upon the cross and worship the Christ, come with joy and gratitude, knowing the cost He paid for your life. Come with expectancy, knowing that Jesus love is a transforming love. Come with freedom, knowing that your sin and transgression has been paid in full. Come and experience the reality that God so loved YOU that He gave His only begotten Son!
Northshore’s Good Friday services are at 6:30 & 8 pm. (Children’s program at the 6:30 service only)
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” ~ Ephesians 2:4-5
It’s so easy to remove ourselves from the scandalous nature of the crucifixion. It’s so easy to hide behind two thousand years of history between the cross and today. But the Bible doesn’t let us off so easy. We were there on that dark night. We were there in the betrayal, in the rejection, and in the denial.
As U2’s Bono wrote in “When Love Comes to Town” – I was there when they crucified my Lord / I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword / I threw the dice when they pierced his side / But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide.
The great divide was conquered by the love of God, even as we held the scabbard and threw the dice at the feet of the crucified Lord. The rich mercy and great love of God has forgiven our sin and “made us alive with Christ”… the Christ we crucified. What grace! What mercy! What love!
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8
God didn’t just tell us of this greatest love, He demonstrated it. He revealed it. He showed it in graphic detail. The dark, scandalous night has turned to “Good” Friday. How can the unspeakable atrocity of the cross be called “good”? The goodness of that Friday comes in the reality that God is demonstrating, revealing, and showing the vastness of His love for us… “even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The scandal continues. A perfect, unblemished, holy God gives His life for treasonous rebels and brigands. God offers us life. We spurn Him for lesser lovers and other idols, but He invites us back to Himself through the willing sacrifice of the Son. Scandalous? Yes. All for love? Most definitely.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love… Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:9, 13
The intimate meal is finished, but love remains the theme. Jesus leads His friends down from the upper room and through the streets of Jerusalem. They will end up at the Garden of Gethsemane, but Jesus lingers on the walk. He tells them that as they love one another, they display God to their world. He tells them that He is confident of the Father’s love towards Himself, and that love has radiated onto them. And then, as He’s done several times throughout this journey to Jerusalem, He speaks of the ultimate reason He has come: “Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). What happens in hours from this moment is the greatest love.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. ~ John 13:1-4
The dark and scandalous night actually begins with an intimate meal with Jesus and His disciples. The sun sets as the disciples climb to the upper room that their Lord has prepared for them. And as they arrive and then recline around the table, Jesus “loved them to the end,” and demonstrates His servant-hearted love for them in an unspeakable act – He washes their feet. And it’s no mere servant touch simply cleansing their road weary feet. It’s the Master’s touch revealing His love for His friends. The night begins with love, and as the story descends into deeper darkness, love undergirds the entirety of the divine drama.