April 8, 2023

Good Friday

The Gospel of Luke all leads up to this. Learn what Christ's life, death, and resurrection mean for you and for you. Pastor Luke Hukee summarizes Luke 23.

Sermon Transcript
Well, as we look at this text for a few moments tonight, again, we are reminding ourselves that there was a great price for our redemption. There's a great price paid in order for us to be relationally restored to God. What was the cost or what is the cost? The death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And not just any death, but an excruciating death. And because of Jesus's voluntary death, we have access to God and we have the opportunity to know and walk with God, because through Jesus death, the one thing that we cannot do has been done, which is our sin has been paid for. There are two scenes tonight I want to look at as we just quickly look at this passage. The two scenes are Jesus dies and then Jesus is buried. So scene number one, Jesus dies. And I want you to notice four details in this scene that Luke gives us. The first is this darkness comes over the land. Darkness comes over the land. Verse 44, It was now about noon. And darkness came over the whole land until three. At the point of the day, the sun was at its highest. Suddenly, complete darkness envelops the land. And the question to ask is, Where did the darkness come from? It's the highest point of the day of the sons, of the highest point of the day. There should not be darkness but light and this darkness that envelops the land. And so where does the darkness come from? Was it a solar eclipse as some postulate, or was it Satan? Some say that it was Satan bringing the power of darkness to bear on Jesus. Well, it was neither of those, and certainly not Satan, for he has no power to bear or bring darkness to bear on Jesus. No. Instead the darkness came from God. God brought about the darkness. And this is certainly what the Jewish people standing there would have thought. Why? Well, because from the Old Testament, they knew that God frequently associated himself with darkness. An example of this is Genesis 1512 with Abraham and the Covenant being made with Abraham. As the sun was setting, a deep sleep came over Abraham and suddenly great terror and darkness descended on him. And the Jewish people understood that God associated himself at times with darkness. But they also understood that supernatural darkness was connected to divine judgment. Judgment? Yes, judgment. See what's happening on that day, 2000 years ago in those three black hours. Is that sin was poured out upon Jesus? Peter tells us he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree. Paul writes to the Corinthians He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, that Jesus at that time became sin. And God brought about His divine judgment upon Jesus. For our sin. The darkness was not caused by God being absent. It's not like God was gone and therefore darkness filled in the gap, but rather his presence in full judgment, vengeance and fury. As one pastor wrote, Infinite Wrath moved by infinite righteousness, released infinite punishment on the Son. The God brought about the brought the outer darkness of hell to Jerusalem that day as he unleashed on Jesus Christ the full extent of his wrath. Against the sins of all. Isaiah depicts it this way. He was despised and rejected by men. A man of suffering who knew what sickness was he was like someone people turned away from. He was despised and we didn't value him. Yet he himself bore our sicknesses and he carried our pains. But we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities. Punishment for our peace was on him. This is Jesus. And so, God, the Father showed up in the darkness to punish his one and only son. For our sin. The second detail is this The curtain splits. Remember, it was Passover, which means the temple priests were quite busy and they were quite busy slaughtering lambs for the payment of sin. Many lambs were being slaughtered. Much blood was being shed at the temple. But then something happens. The priest suddenly startled by a loud noise coming from inside the holy place, this ripping sound. And Luke tells us in verse 45, The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. The curtain of the holy of holies was ripped right down the middle from top to bottom. This curtain. It was the grandest of the 13 curtains in the temple. Here's a picture just to give some sense of an idea of what that may have looked like. It was woven with expensive yarns from Babylon. They were in blue and white and red and purple with representations of cherubim on the curtain and its function. It was to block all eyes and forbid any access to the holy of holies where God dwelt, except once a year, when the high priest entered with a blood sacrifice or blood offering for himself and for the sins of the people. But now, in the darkened heart of the temple, this great curtain that stood there between man and God is thick as a man's hand was slashed into, as if a sword had come right down and sliced it through. And why? Why did this happen or what does this mean? Well, it was a sign that the atonement was complete, that access to God has been opened, that the New Covenant was ratified, that rendering everything in the temple worship obsolete, the sacrifices being made. Obsolete. It was this joyous sign of spiritual access to God that with the curtain ripped into that afternoon, the way into God's presence opened up to all. It opened all. The no longer was man shut from God, but man had access to God, not through a priest, a man, but through the son. The High Priest. Jesus Christ. At the same time. Detail number three is this is Jesus calls out the gospels. Together, they reveal that under the cover of the remaining darkness, Jesus utters three phrases, the so-called cry of dereliction, which he quotes Psalm 22. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Mark's gospel records. Jesus saying this the penultimate expression in John 19. It is finished. And then Jesus is very last words from the cross, recorded only here in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus calls out with a loud voice, Father, into your hands. I entrust my spirit and saying this He breathed his last that into your hands. I entrust my spirit was the tradition. Jews traditional evening prayer. It was the evening prayer that a pious Jew would pray before going to sleep in. Jesus chose to pray that prayer at the very moment that he entered ultimate sleep death. This prayer, a quotation from Psalm 31, verse five. In this psalm, David describes what has happened to him because of his enemies, and he's concluding with this assertion of confidence in God. And when David prays into your hands, I entrust my spirit. He was asking to be preserved from death. Yet when Jesus, who is the ultimate son of David, prays this prayer, it was a prayer of trust in the Father at the moment of death. And not only did Jesus pray this prayer at the moment of death as he's dying, he's saying, Father, I entrust my spirit to you. But he prays it differently or unlike any other Jew. Because in Jesus's prayer he added the word father. That no one had prayed this way. No one had prayed this way until Jesus God was not known as Father, but as God. No one described God as Father until Jesus. Therefore, it was revolutionary for no one. Called God Father, yet Jesus on the cross. The last words that come out of his mouth before death. Father, into your hands. I entrust my spirit. And so Jesus, for moments or moments before death, entrusts his spirit to his father, communicating one that the death of Jesus was voluntarily, voluntarily given up. He voluntarily gave up his life and second communion with his father restored. But there's a fourth and final detail, and that is the people's reactions. There are three reactions or kind of three groups, if you will, of people who react to the death of Jesus on the cross. The first is a centurion, verse 47. When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying this man really was righteous. The centurion represented the convince what they had observed during Christ's trial and crucifixion had left them utterly amazed, astounded. No prisoner they had crucified had conducted himself in such a resolute and dignified way. I mean, think about Jesus. They heard Jesus pray for the forgiveness of his killers. They saw the noble way in which he suffered. They heard him cry out to his father. They heard him promise paradise to the repentant thief on the cross who had just been cursing him moments before. And they experienced this three hours of pitch blackness in an earthquake that split the rocks around them. And they heard Jesus just before he died. Cry out with a loud voice, Father, into your hands. I commit my spirit. This was not behavior they had ever seen before from any other crucifixion victim. People who died in this fashion a torturous fashion. They suffered from oxygen deprivation to their brains, and they were incoherent long before. They actually succumbed to the cross. They could barely breathe, let alone shout at the top of their voice. But this man, Jesus. Took death, as one said, by his own will and made it his servant. They could not ignore the reality. What they saw. And when the centurion saw what happened, he began praising God. Certainly this man was righteous. Innocent. And this is more than merely an affirmation of Jesus's innocence, but it's an affirmation of his divine righteousness as a son of God, blameless and holy. Centurion stands there glorifying God, proclaiming that Jesus surely is righteous one. There's another response, and that's response is from the crowd in verse 48. All the crowds that had gathered for the spectacle, when they had saw what had taken place, went home striking their chest. You know, the crowd, their emotions have been all over the map that week. Ranging from great joy on Monday during the triumphal entry at the prospect that Jesus was the Messiah, the Messiah, the one who they had so eagerly awaited for and longed for. Swinging to the opposite extreme of anger and hatred and animosity. At his trial before Pilate. Well, they asked for the murdering insurrectionist Barabbas to be released instead of the innocent Jesus. They shouted loudly for Jesus to be crucified and even willingly assumed the responsibility for his death. Crying out His blood shall be on us and our children. Yet. After the dramatic events. After what they saw. After the crucifixion. There was one last emotion. When they saw what had taken place, they went home striking their chests. Why? Why was the crowd striking their chests? Well, I think because they were full of grief. Full of guilt. Full of fear. They were convicted. They became terrified at the sign of God's wrath and judgment. And they, too. They saw the righteousness of Jesus. And they went so far as dramatically lamenting over his death. And likely for some of them, this prepared their hearts for when Peter preached the gospel on Pentecost, where many heard in believed. So the crowds, they responded with conviction, with grief. Striking their chest as they left the crucifixion. Lastly, the last response is his followers in verse 49. But all who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching these things that Luke keys on, particularly on the women who had followed him from Galilee and enabled to bear what was happening to the one whom they had profoundly loved. They moved from a position near the cross and now we're standing at a distance, seeing these things, watching these things happen. And naturally they're shocked. Naturally they're overcome with grief. They're unable to comprehend what had happened to Jesus, what was going on. They were they were devastated. This was not how the story was supposed to end. Jesus wasn't supposed to die. He wasn't supposed to be strung up like a criminal and put to death. At least that's what they thought. At least that's what was in their mind and their understanding of the Messiah. This was what seemingly was the case to them. And so they're grieved. Struck with sorrow. Delirious, unable to comprehend what is going on. And so Jesus, Jesus is dead and he's hanging on the cross, lifeless. This leads us to scene number two, which is Jesus is buried with Jesus's death confirmed. The next step was to remove his body from the cross and to bury him. And for this, the Lord chose a man named Joseph of Arimathea. And here's what we're told about this man, Joseph. In verse 50, There is a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin. Who had not agreed with their plan in action. So Joseph is a man who sits on the Sanhedrin, this High council, and he did not agree. With the plan that was devised to create this mock trial with Jesus, to get him taken before Pilate in order to be crucified and killed. And he is from Arimathea, a Judean town, and he was looking forward to the Kingdom of God, that he was a follower of Jesus. But as we're told in the other gospels, he was a follower in Jesus, in secret. Until this moment. What does Joseph do in verse 52? He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus's body. No Jewish custom dictated that crucified bodies should be taken down before evening, especially before the Sabbath, which that evening, 6 p.m. started the Sabbath began on that Friday. What we call Good Friday. Deuteronomy 21 mandates the burial of a corpse on the day of death. And so Joseph, this man, Joseph, moved by God of Arimathea, he respected member of the Jewish Council, courageously goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus. And more than likely, his high standing within the Jewish community gave him direct access to Pilate. And so he goes to Pilate. And he asked for the body of Jesus. And now to do this would have again been quite risky. Because Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the very group who hated Jesus and essentially arranged him, arranged to have him killed. And so to do this means that Joseph is stepping out. He's taking a risk. He's stepping out, and he is going public with his faith in Christ. Side note, if we truly believe in Jesus, we too will step out. There will be times when we take risks or we go public with our faith. Our faith does not stay private, but it's something that becomes public to others. And so this man, Joseph, with courage and boldness, he goes before Pilate requesting the body of Jesus. And in verse 53, we see that he's given that request, taking it down the body. He wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb, cut into the rock where no one had ever been placed. It was the preparation day and the Sabbath was about to begin. It's late Friday afternoon, the Sabbath about to begin that evening. And so he quickly takes down the body of Jesus from the cross and quickly prepares it for burial by wrapping it in a shroud or linen. And then he lays the body of Jesus in a tomb, cut out of rocks, a new tomb. Luke tells us the tomb that has never been used. And then Mark 15, verse 46 says, And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. To protect it, to keep it safe from anyone getting in animals or thieves taking the body. And then we're told in verse 55, the woman who had come down or the women who had come down from Galilee followed along and observed the tomb and how his body was placed. And they returned and prepared spices and perfumes, and they rested on the Sabbath, according to the commandment that the women who had been with Jesus, who had come from Galilee, they followed. They followed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who meets up with Joseph. They watch him prepare the body of Jesus. They see where the body of Jesus is laid. They observe the tomb that he has put in this new tomb. And upon returning home where they were staying, they began to prepare spices and ointments in order to return to the tomb. To better prepare Jesus body for burial after the Sabbath, because again, due to the Sabbath approaching quickly, they had to quickly bury Jesus's body and so their full burial practices had not been complete. And so they went home in preparation, preparing for the next for on Sunday to come back to finish the burial process. And so everyone left. Jesus's body laid in a tomb. These men and women, followers of Jesus going home mourning that dark Sabbath night. Because their hope had been shattered. Their only consolation is that they gave Jesus an honorable burial and their hope to come back a couple of days later to finish that burial. And so Jesus, Jesus is dead and Jesus is buried. And those who followed him were in shock and mourning, waiting for the morning to come back to finish the burial process at the tomb. And so what do we do? Well, I think there's just two things to think about as we close our time together. First is this Just remember him. Remember Christ. We remember that Jesus did, in fact, die. And that death is confirmed by his burial. And Jesus died so that we might actually be able to live not just in this life, but in eternity, have eternal life, that it's only because of Jesus. That he descended from heaven and he became a man and he died on the cross. That we are forgiven and reconciled to God. It is only because he willingly laid down his life and shed his blood that he took on our sin. And he took on the punishment for our sin that we might be forgiven. And that we might be forever with God. So, brothers and sisters, we are not to look beyond the cross of Christ, but to live our life looking through the lens of the cross of Christ that we must remember that He gave his life for us so that we might live our life. In surrender and obedience to him to bring glory to him. Second receive him. You know, there may be some of you here tonight. I don't know where you're at in your walk with Christ. If you have ever put your faith and trust in Jesus. And I would encourage you tonight to do just that. If you are here this evening and you have never repented and put your trust in Christ, I would encourage you to be like the centurion upon the death of Jesus who confessed Christ to be righteous, the innocent one. You would trust him. Trust that he is God in the flesh. And that he died upon the cross 2000 years ago, not because he was a criminal paying for crimes that he had committed, but because he was undergoing just punishment for the crimes that you and I have committed against God. That he was being punished in our place. The you and I have sinned against God that we have broken God's law. We have lied. We have stolen, we have cheated, we have envied and lusted and much, much more. And all of our sin separates us from God. And there's nothing we can do to take away that sin. All that we can do is be punished for our sin. Unless we look to Christ. Christ the Son of God. The Lamb of God who came into the world to take away sin. And what John tells us in his gospel. John 112 But to all who did receive him, he gave the right to be children of God to those who believe in his name. If you want to be right with God. If you want to be in relationship with God, your sin forgiven. Entering into the presence of God, you must receive Him. You must believe in him. Must trust in him with all of your heart. And so let me encourage you tonight, if you have not trusted in Christ to do just that, to repent of your sin, to believe upon the one who died for your sin, paying for your sin. Jesus Christ. You might be reconciled to God.

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