Summary: Short evangelistic Good Friday message given at a community Good Friday service.
Who For the Joy Set Before Him
(Community Good Friday Service,
Friday, April 13, 2001
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church),
Good afternoon! It’s my pleasure to tell you that though we are here to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He is alive and well today, and that is reason to rejoice even as we reflect on death.
In fact, that is the point of my message today, and rather than ruin the ending, so to speak, I want to move into the Scripture passage I have chosen for my text.
Hebrews 12:2 says this:
-Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.-
My purpose during this brief time is to give you some hope when it looks like it’s all over.
And in doing so I want to focus on three phrases from this passage.
The first is…
I. Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
When you are running a race, you usually run to win, right? You don’t fix your eyes on the spectators, the officials, or even the other runners. You fix your eyes on the prize. The finish line isn’t the prize, the medal or crown is.
Well if you want to win in life, you need to fix your eyes not on your circumstances, not on your work, not even on other people. You need to fix your eyes on the prize. The prize is Jesus.
He is above your circumstances and problems. And He is beautiful beyond all riches.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. The next phrase is…
II. (Who) Endured the Cross
This is a key phrase. And the key word here is “endure.”
Notice it doesn’t say “lounged on” the cross. He didn’t “relax” on the cross. He endured it. That means that it wasn’t something He enjoyed, to say the least.
In fact, not only did He not enjoy it, it was extremely painful, causing much suffering.
I’m sure you did not need to be reminded of that. But sometimes we forget that dying on the cross meant more than discomfort. It meant physical torture before a slow, lingering death.
But He did it. He willfully laid down His life; enduring the cross, and scorning it shame. And He did it for one reason. To bring you and me to God.
He looked at you and He said, “Yeah, he’s worth it.” And He looked at you and said, “Yeah, she’s worth it.” And He looked at me, and said, “Yeah, he’s worth it.”
And if you are here today wondering if your life is worth anything, let me tell you, Jesus sees you and says, “Yeah, you’re worth it…to Me.”
“And I love you so much that I would have gone to the cross if you were the only person on earth.”
Christ endured the cross for you and me.
The last phrase I want to look at today is…
III. Seated at the Right Hand of God
When Jesus was brought down from that ol’ cross, the religious leaders and Romans thought it was all over.
But thank God it wasn’t over. Not by a long shot. You know in sports, they say “it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”
My guess is that are a lot of skinny women in Jerusalem, because it wasn’t over then, and it’s not over now!
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, and that gives us hope for eternity and a reason to go on today!
1 Corinthians says that if Christ is not raised than those who believe in Jesus are to be pitied more than all men.
But we don’t need to be pitied, because Christ is alive, and He is well, and He is victorious over death and the grave, amen?
“You’re supposed to be talking about the crucifixion, not the resurrection, Preacher!”
I know. But without the resurrection, the crucifixion is nothing more than the martyrdom of a religious man.
The resurrection gives the crucifixion its greatest meaning and its greatest power.
Jesus rose, and He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hallelujah!
When Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, so that anyone could have access to God.
I mentioned a few moments ago that Jesus had each one of us in mind when He went to that cross. He died so that you and I could have access to God.
He made it possible for us to spend eternity in heaven with Him, rather than suffer the penalty our sins deserve.
He took the punishment for us, giving us the gift of eternal life.