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Good Friday - Head Held High

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Introduction:
Good Friday is such an odd name for this day.
We come here today to remember the crucifixion of Jesus.
We come here to remember his beating, nail scared hands, the crown of thorns, and the anguish of it all.
It would be easy to pass by the cross with our heads hung low.
Refusing to look up and the mangled figure hanging before us.
It would be easy to head right to Easter and see our Lord glorified, resurrected, and all powerful.
But we can never understand the power of the resurrection if we are not first willing to raise our heads and look at our crucified Lord.
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The Apostle Paul writing on the cross of Jesus said…..

(ESV)
Galatians 6:14 ESV
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The word Boast literally means to hold our head high.
We are called to hold our head up high and look.
Look at the horror and the Beauty.
Today we stand transfixed on our crucified Lord.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ All of it from the Bible
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When we Look up I am often left with a simple question.
Why?
Why would they murder Jesus?
And
Why would He allow them to murder Him?
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Why would they murder Jesus –

Mark 1:14–15 ESV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Jesus was not preaching soft sermons on “How to live a better life” and doing miracles as random acts of kindness!

He came proclaiming the time had come for a New Kingdom to take over.

By Kingdom of God we mean –
· The government of God
· The politics of God
· The alternative arrangement of the world that comes from God.
Jesus was proclaiming to the Principalities and Powers (the very rich, the very powerful, the religious institutions, the governmental institutions and the evil spirits behind them all) that their time was up because the alternative from Heaven was now within reach.
Jesus called all who would listen to rethink everything (repent) and believe that a radical rearrangement of the world was GOOD NEWS!
And as we know
THE EMPIRE ALWAYS STRIKES BACK.
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The Principalities and Powers had a vested interest in keeping things like they have always been.

So,
Caiaphas – the very Religious
Herod – The very rich
Pilate – the very powerful
Colluded to put an end to this rebel who promised a new kind of world and a new kind of humanity.
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And so they arrested him late at night.
They beat him
Spit on him
Whipped him until the flesh on his back was shredded.
And then they crucified him like a criminal.
All to keep this new world, new humanity from spreading.
All to keep their fragile powers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now we must ask:

Why would God allow Himself to be brutally murdered by evil men driven by evil spirits?

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2 Corinthians 5:17–21 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus not only took the sins of these evil men but, he took on all sins of all men.
The sins of the past and the sins of the future came to an Apex on that morning as Jesus hung on the cross.
Like a laser all the sins of humanity were pointed towards Jesus, and He took the very worst evil we could pour out on Him.
He took our sins and poured out to us His righteousness.
We clothed him in our evil and He clothed us with his right relationship with God the Father.
He took on our very worst
So, we could become the new creation of a new Kingdom.
What looked like a defeat became the means for Jesus to defeat our sins and our death.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Today we see the horror, the pain, the agony and the blood.
We see Jesus deformed from his brutal murder.
We see the Apex of human sin being thrown on Jesus.
We see the effects of greed, the thirst for power, and the brutality of human kingdoms in the faces of Rome, The Religious order, and the politicians.
But we also see our faces.
We see our greed, our desire for power at any cost. In the cross we see the effects of our brutality towards others, our unforgiveness, our hate, our lust for what others have. On the cross we see the effect of our desire to control our own lives and the lives of others. We see the brutality of our own sinfulness.
But as we continue to peer at the one hanging on the cross, we begin to see beauty.
We see the light of Sunday shining on the cross.
We see Jesus, God, Man, taking on himself the very worst of all humanity. We see Him taking into to himself and then we hear His voice.
Father, forgive them….
On that cross we see the effect of Love, generosity and forgiveness.
We see the forces of evil exhausting the evil of the world and then defeated by God’s love.
We see our savior taking all that is evil and sinful with us onto himself and then forgiving us.
We see the power of unconditional love and how it always triumphs over evil and sin.
We see God defeating our worst by allowing it to kill Him. And at the same time, He cries out, I forgive you.
Oh, the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find
That I may truly live!
Yes, the cross of Jesus bids us to come and die. To die to this world’s way of living.
And then to find that you and I may truly live. We may truly live by the power of the Love God demonstrated to us in the death of Jesus.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- At the cross we see all the evil of humanity brutalizing God.
We see God taking our evil onto Himself for our sake.
We here Him cry out “Father Forgive them”
And then we here the final victory cry of the war for our souls and life.
“It is finished”
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As Paul would tell us -

Hold your head high for our Lord won our victory through His crucifixion.

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