Summary: A sermon for Good Friday.
“Love Each Other”
Today we come to the Cross.
It was a terrifying death.
The goal of crucifixion was to inflict the maximum amount of agony on another person for the longest possible time.
It was an extremely effective way to kill a human being slowly.
Jesus hung on the Cross, bloody and naked, for six hours.
On Good Friday we are faced with our own total depravity.
We see that we humans are so broken that we are capable of murdering God!
If we are willing to face it, Jesus’ suffering and death are a mirror held up to our souls, a reminder of the jealousy, pettiness, self-centeredness, spiritual blindness, and darkness that lurk in all our souls.
In his book, “The Science of Evil” Simon Barren-Cohen writes the following:
“When I was seven years old, my father told me the Nazis had turned Jews into lampshades.
It’s one of those comments that you hear once, and the thought never goes away.
To a child’s mind (even to an adult’s) these two types of things just don’t belong together.
He also told me the Nazis turned Jews into bars of soap.
It sounds so unbelievable, yet it is actually true.
Cruelty for its own sake was a part of ordinary Nazi guards’ behavior.
Sadly, there is no shortage of horrific examples of human behavior.”
Why did the murderer kill an innocent child?
Why did this terrorist become a suicide bomber?
When push comes to shove, all of us are capable of horrible evil.
And so, on our own, we are a lost race indeed.
We cannot save ourselves.
We cannot take our own sins on the Cross and die.
We cannot forgive those who are flogging us, nailing our hands to the wood, spitting on us, mocking us.
In the face of such horrible pain and evil, would not all of us curse those mutilating us?
If we were able, would we not all come off the Cross and annihilate them all?
Of course, we would.
And Jesus is the only One Who actually could have, but He chose not to.
And so, we have the total brokenness of humanity on full display for the entire world to see.
We also have the incredible love of God on full display for all the world to see!!!
And that is why we call this Good Friday.
It was humanity at our worst and God at God’s best.
Without God’s love we would have no hope.
Without the Crucifixion we would not know anything about love.
In 1st John 3:16 we are told: “This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
And in 1st John 4:10 it says it’s “not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
God’s love is an action—a really difficult action.
The definition of love in the Bible is a willingness to die—not just for someone who is nice to you, or someone who loves you—but for anyone and everyone.
Look around this room.
Who would you die for?
Paul says in Romans Chapter 5: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus died, even for those who were putting Him to death.
From the Cross Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus died even for the Nazis.
Jesus died even for the serial killers.
Jesus died even for His greatest enemies.
Jesus died even for me.
Jesus died even for you.
Jesus died because we can’t…
…and God knows that.
And so, Jesus died because, for some reason, “God so loves the world.”
John Chapter 19:30 says that “Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’
With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
What Jesus came to do, He had now completed.
Jesus won the victory over evil, providing us with the only means of salvation.
And that is, putting our faith and complete trust into His hands, and seeking to emulate His teachings, His life, His behavior through the power of His Holy Spirit.
“My command is this,” Jesus says, “Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.”
And again, “This is my command: Love each other.”
This is the only answer to the terrible evil we are all much too capable of committing.
“Love each other.”
“Love each other as I have loved you.”