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"The Proof Is In The Blood"

"And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,"

Luke 24:45-46

What makes Good Friday so good many will be asking today. The answer is that on the Cross we get to see God's best, God at His best when man is at his worst. Everything good and glorious is on full display on the Cross. The depth love will go in redeeming the sinner. The compassion of Christ in how He preferred others over Himself. The list goes on and on.

What did Jesus do that He had to die? The scriptures only tell us that He loved people, He taught people, He healed people, He fed people. The scriptures never tell us Jesus did anything wrong and yet He died a terrible death. John 3:16 puts it into perspective, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Jesus died so we could have a choice. Love is always a choice. John 3:17-21 sheds light on what is beginning to happen, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

In John 11 we read of the death of Lazarus. John 11:4-5 tells us, "When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." Love always brings things to life and thaw exactly what Jesus does here. The proof of love is made real when Jesus tells Martha in verses 25-26, "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Jesus is making it very clear that He is the only way to God, and that in Him is life! Verse 45 tells us what is happening, "Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him." Love is attractive, it draws, or at least it seeks to draw. We see in John 11 that Jesus continues to teach the people, love the people, tell the truth to people and what does it get Him? Trouble, envy, jealousy, and hatred from those who love the darkness instead of the light..

Further down in verses 46-53 of chapter 11 we read, "But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. "

Why did they plot to kill Jesus? He only came to love and to teach and to give life? Matthew 23 gives us a glimpse wherever love is on display, hatred can't be too far away. Speaking to the Scribes and Pharisee's in verses 1-5. "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments." What Jesus tells us is that everything but love was on display in the lives of these religious leaders.

Mark your bible and go back and read this through. Jesus ticks off the religious leaders. He begins to make it very clear from His teaching that they are wrong, that they are in the dark and that He is the light. Jesus begins to correct them and they hate it. They hate it like you and I hate it. People love teaching that speaks of wealth and health and prosperity, but teaching that says like Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

We want options! God gave us options. In Genesis 3 God planted a tree and gave us the choice to listen to Him or not to listen. Man's love or lack of it has been on display ever since. Love is always a choice. God gave us then and He gives us now the option to choose. Without a choice it wouldn't be love. Revelation 3:20 tells us Jesus is standing at the door of our heart and is knocking. We have a choice to open the door and let Him or not. Jesus never pulls a seal team 6 on us and kicks the door in. The door is locked from within not out. Some people will say, "Jesus is too narrow minded". Its as if He is saying here, "it's Yahweh or the highway." I appreciate what Damian Kyle has said, "I'm don't believe God is narrow minded in that He has made only one way by which men must be saved. I am just thankful that God has made a way for sinners like us to be saved."

Yes, loved one, Jesus took it to a whole new level in John 14:6 when He said, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." That's it, He crossed the line. Jesus made a big mistake here gang. He claimed exclusivity. The Jews were wrong about life and how to live. People weren't stupid in Jesus day. They understood then what we understand today. All roads do not and have not ever lead to the same destination. They never have and they never will!

So what do you do when you don't like what you hear? You have two choices just like the people in our story here.
1. You agree with Jesus and you do what He says. You surrender your life to Him and follow Him.
2. You shut Him up; you tune Him out. You crucify Him. Yes, you crucify Him. You treat Him as if He were dead!

Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. For this purpose He came into the world. He was born to die. Matthew 26:2, "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." Mark 10:32-34 tells us, " Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."

I hate calling this time when Christ went to the Cross Good Friday because it was anything but good. It was terrible. Yet, Good Friday is good for me and you as each year we are reminded again of the proof of God's love and just how far Jesus went to purchase our freedom.

Matthew 27 clearly shows us Jesus was innocent. Again, what had He done wrong? He loved the people, He taught the people, He healed the people, He fed the people. He was good all the time. He was a friend to sinners even at His arrest. We read in Matthew 26:50-55, "But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.

Matthew 27 gives us the best evidence of innocence when we read that even his betrayer had a change of heart. In verses 3-4 Judas feels bad for what he did. "Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"

Then we have Pilate's wife in verse 19, "While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him." And Pilate himself in verse 24, "When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."

Pilate says in verse 22, "Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!" In verse 23 he asks why, "Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!" Like I said, the Cross reveals the best of God and the worst of man. After all, what had Jesus done wrong? He loved, He taught, He healed, He fed them. He had done nothing wrong at all.

Love doesn't quit and Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Jesus had no sin in Him and that is what makes His arrest, His trial, and His crucifixion so terrible. Jesus had not done anything wrong. And yet a trial is what God chose to reveal His love to us while exposing the heart of mankind.

They wanted to humiliate him. They arrested Him publicly. Matthew 26:47-50 makes this clear, "And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him."

They spit on Him. He just told them He was the Son of God and they spit in His face. Read verse 67, "then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands," It didn't end there as they scourged Him in hopes of beating the truth, a confession out of Him. Matthew 27:26 reveals the worlds choice between love and hate. "Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

It only gets worse as they stripped Jesus naked to humiliate Him further. Verse 28 says, "And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him." Then they twisted a crown of thorns upon His head to mock Him and beat Him in the head with a stick. Verse 29 reveals the evil being played out, "When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

And the moment of truth where for all eternity the Cross would reveal the worst of mankind and the best of God as Jesus love was put on display for all the world to see. They crucified Him. Verse 35 records the painful moment. "Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots."

Why did Jesus have to die? Why so many specific details surrounding Jesus life, the way He lived and even how He was treated as they prepared to nail Him to the Cross. The answer is, to fulfill the very purposes of God. That's right, the very purpose of God. No one took Jesus life from Him, He laid it down willingly.

In John 10:17-18 Jesus makes it perfectly clear, "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

You might say that Jesus went through hell so we go to heaven! The Reverend Billy Graham said this regarding Good Friday, "God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, "I Love You."

The message of Good Friday is that God turned His back on His own Son, so He wouldn't have to turn His back on me and you. As Good Friday services take place all around the world today may the love of Jesus be on display for all the world to see. And may we be reminded once again that eternal life is a gift, one we must choose to either accept it or reject it, the choice is ours as our response is our opportunity for the world to see the proof of our love!

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

John 1:12-13


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