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GOOD FRIDAY: A DEATH THAT GIVES LIFE

Date: May 18, 2022/Comments: 0

Last night we followed Jesus from the Upper Room to Gethsemane where his
passion began. We have followed him from there to his betrayal by one of his
own, the false accusations, the severe scourging, the noise of the crowd as he
carried his cross, his crucifixion and death.
For some, it was just another show in which a common criminal was executed.
The passers-by were only there for the fun and laughter that would fill the
emptiness of their hearts only for a passing moment. Even today, people still
gather to watch the lynching of a person accused of a crime. For them, it does
not matter whether the accused is guilty or not. They gladly bring out their
phones and enjoy the spectacle.

For some, it was just another show in which a common criminal was executed.
The passers-by were only there for the fun and laughter that would fill the
emptiness of their hearts only for a passing moment. Even today, people still
gather to watch the lynching of a person accused of a crime. For them, it does
not matter whether the accused is guilty or not. They gladly bring out their
phones and enjoy the spectacle.

For some others, a dangerous opponent to the Jewish religion was killed. He
had preached in their synagogues and denounced their hypocrisy and unjust
practices at the Temple. His words and actions were a threat to their
understanding of the Jewish religion. Today, religious differences still lead to
conflict among brothers and people even get killed for mindless excuses.
For the Romans, another enemy of the state had been eliminated and the
Roman empire was once more secure. Palestine was one of the most
troublesome spots in the Roman empire. The governors of such regions were
known to employ brutal means of punishment like public executions to deter
prospective troublemakers.

Today, someone who stands for the truth is a
political enemy that must be eliminated. Some are imprisoned under trumpedup
charges. Some are outrightly assassinated while others are never heard of
again. As the election year draws near, many have declared their intentions
to vie for political positions. They gather to choose their own Barabbas, a
common criminal from among their ranks, to rule according to their wishes.
They have set out strategies to eliminate anyone who calls them to account
in the name of national interest.

They even have their Pilate in the form of
corrupt election officials that would help them to deliver the result. The only
thing that stands in their way is the voice of the people calling for social
justice, good governance, and accountability. It is a situation in which the
people, fully involved in the electoral process, can choose leaders who would
work for the transformation that we desire.
For the people at the site of the crucifixion, the day ended in the death of
Jesus. For us, the death of Jesus is the beginning of eternal life. The meaning
of today’s celebration is clear: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
Although he stood against the injustices of his time, he was not a political
activist or agitator. He gave a human face to the justice and mercy of God.

Although he healed the sick and fed the multitude, Jesus was not aphilanthropist
or a social worker. His life brings the reality of the love of God
to everyone. Even as he was killed by Pilate’s judgment, Jesus was more than
a political martyr. He died to save the whole of creation. He knew he had to
die. He also knew that this price must be paid for the justice and mercy of
God to meet man and free him from slavery to sin and death.
The death of Jesus asks a question that strikes at the heart of our existence:
who are you? If everything is taken away from you, what will be left? We are
Christians and this means that Christ must permeate every aspect of our lives.

If everything else is taken away from us: wealth, friends, occupation,
connections, and achievements, we will remain Christians. We will remain
children of a Father who never abandons his children. We will remain brothers
and sisters of Christ who saved us by dying on the Cross. This demands that
God takes sovereignty over everything in our lives. It means that we must
intentionally bring our Christian identity into all that we do and wherever we
go. It means that the Truth of the Good News of salvation must not be hidden
behind the veil of fear. We must tear that veil of fear and be witnesses to the
fact that the death of Christ reconciles us to the Father and all are called to
embrace this gift of salvation.

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