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Good Friday, John 19:1-37

 Have you ever watched a movie with an ending you didn’t expect? I remember seeing a movie with some friends in high school that left us so confused that we had to debrief immediately in the movie theater once credits rolled. That is what I imagine it felt like to be one of Jesus’ disciples on the day of His death. There they were, watching the crowd take the man who was supposed to change everything, and kill Him as if He were a criminal. I often wonder if there was anyone who understood that it was happening according to plan.

The fact of the matter is that this what was supposed to happen. This was part of the greatest victory ever won in history. Up to this point, death has been the debt that all men pay. Up to this point, sin still held man captive. Because of Adam, human nature was defined by sin. Therefore, we needed someone else to come through and redefine it. The only option was to defeat sin and death itself. How exactly do you do that? Well, we learn from Jesus that the first step was dying for all of our sins. Jesus was innocent because He spoke the truth. The story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion reveals to us that not much has changed since the Garden of Eden: God speaks and humans don’t listen. Note that each time Pilate refers to Jesus as the King of the Jews, the Jews reject Jesus and demand His crucifixion. When Pilate tries to release Jesus, the Jews push back by referring to Caesar as the ultimate authority. Pilate ultimately acknowledges his allegiance to the rules. The point is that both the Jews and Pilate rejected Jesus as King, because they wanted to serve their own desires. The Jews wanted to keep the status quo, and Pilate wanted to obey Caesar and keep the peace. No one wanted to obey the one true King. 

That is why we needed Jesus to die, because we could never have been truly obedient to God as we were called to be without His help. Because of Jesus, death no longer reigns over us as it once did. We know this from Jesus’ words, “it is finished.” In the original language, the tense of this verb communicates that the present action has future implications. So Jesus’ death is one that reverberates throughout history as a sign that death does that have the final word over us, despite our natural tendency to disregard God’s authority. Despite our sinfulness, we have a chance to die to death and live with Jesus. This is why we needed His death, and this is why we can say today is “Good” Friday. Let us consider Jesus’ example of obedience, even unto death, as we continue to wrestle with our own disobedience towards God.

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