Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today we have gathered together to reflect on the most significant event in human history, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This day, known as Good Friday, marks the day when Jesus willingly gave his life on the cross to redeem humanity from sin and death.
The events of Good Friday are challenging to comprehend. Jesus, the Son of God, was betrayed by one of his disciples, arrested, beaten, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. He was mocked and ridiculed, yet he never wavered in his love for us.
As we reflect on the cross, we must remember the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He endured immense physical and emotional pain, yet he did it all out of love for us. His death has allowed us to be forgiven and have a new life in Him.
We see a pattern of sacrifice and atonement for sin in the Old Testament. Animals were sacrificed as a way of making amends for wrongdoing. But Jesus' death on the cross was different. He was the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Through his death, he made atonement for our sins once and for all.
As we come forward to drive a nail into the cross, a symbol of our personal responsibility for his suffering and death, let us reflect on the cross, remembering the depth of God's love for us. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God's love for us is not based on our merit or worthiness but on his infinite grace and mercy.
Through the cross, we are also reminded of the incredible price that was paid for our salvation. Jesus endured unimaginable suffering so we could be free from sin and eternal death. We must never take this gift for granted but always strive to live in a way that honors Jesus and his sacrifice.
Finally, as we reflect on the cross, we must also remember that this is not the end of the story. Jesus did not remain in the tomb but rose from the dead on the third day, demonstrating that death has been defeated and offering us the sure hope of eternal life.
As we leave this place today, let us carry with us the knowledge of God's incredible love for us and the depth of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. May we live our lives in a way that honors Him, and may we always remember that through His death and resurrection, we have been given new life in Him. Amen.
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Rev. Dennis Rhoads
Vacancy pastor. LCMS