His Words…on that Friday!
I was invited to participate in the Good Friday Together event held at the First Niagara Center. (On Good Friday) Overwhelmed by the invite and the verse I was given to share…I prayed a lot. Actually, I freaked out and prayed a ton.
It was an extraordinary event.
To see how God the Father packed that arena for the praise and glory of His Son – well, words fall short. It was like a glimpse of what worship in heaven might be like – every tribe, tongue and nation – hearts full being poured out in uninhibited worship for the King. Absolutely unforgettable. His presence was tangible. His people – ONE in Him and for Him.
No one wanted to leave. We didn’t want it to end. And then we remember that it doesn’t have to end – because – EASTER – and the joy and New Life from that moment allows for life and outrageous joy now.
I was led to write what I eventually shared at the event. We were only given 5 minutes and 45 seconds to get it done. Well…needless to say I had to cut back a lot. So…I thought I might share the entire message.
Have a blessed EASTER! He’s Alive!
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
This tender yet imposing moment that became the third saying of Christ from the cross, is introduced in sheer contrast to what’s being described beforehand ─ the callous cruelty of the Roman soldiers as they arrogantly divvy up and gamble for Jesus’ clothing.
In this moment I can’t help but think of Mary ─ especially as a mother.
Her deep pain
And the helplessness of a mother watching the unthinkable, watching…
Her son die.
I can only imagine how she felt, what she was thinking…
Maybe she reflected upon the moment when everything changed ─ when she was a young, virgin pledged to be married to Joseph…
That moment when the angel Gabriel appeared to her, announcing to her the unthinkable…
That the Holy Spirit would come upon her and create life in her.
That she would give birth to the very Son of God, the SON of GOD…
That she would name Him Jesus.
Or maybe she pondered His humble birth in that curious, unassuming stable ─ greeted not by adoration and pomp but… Instead, the King was met on earth by the animal kingdom; praised by bleating sheep, neighing horses and mooing cows.
How she wished she could go back in time. Back to that moment when clay covered glory, When God took on flesh and became a helpless baby boy ─ her baby boy with tiny hands that couldn’t even reach for her. Holy hands that in that moment were stretched out on a cross to save her…
To save all of us.
And as blood dripped from those hands, maybe she was struck afresh remembering the blessing and the prophecy ─ the words spoken by Simeon about the child during his dedication in the temple . “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
We don’t know what she pondered in those moments as her son hung, suspended between heaven and earth.
Was she was ready and willing to face the Roman guards and take her beloved son down off that cross?
Did she want to get in the faces of those cold-hearted hypocrites hurling insults at her son when just days before they were praising His name and enjoying the leftovers from his many miracles?
We don’t know what she was feeling, thinking, or what she said.
And maybe she was silent because she was interceding, praying for the miracle of miracles… That just maybe the Father, the One who chose her to be the Son’s mother, just maybe…
He might take this cup from her son, …from His son. Maybe He would take the cup from her.
Like Mary, we come to where our deepest need and heartbreak take us,…to the foot of the cross. And we can’t help but feel the profound and extraordinary in this moment .
Maybe we have no record of what she said because it wasn’t about what she said or did in this moment.
Because in this moment, as in every other moment, including right now.
It’s not about Mary, it’s not about you, and it’s not about me.
It’s about Jesus.
So that we will hear HIM.
So that we take our eyes off of her, off of ourselves and the multitude of reasons for our coming to the foot of the cross. So we take our eyes off of all these things and we look at Him.
Because when we fix our gaze toward heaven, and look up from the ashes of our despair…
When we look up…We see Him.
King of kings.
Lord of lords.
The Alpha and the Omega ─ Beginning and the End of all things.
Friend of Sinners
Lover of Souls
Prince of Peace
Ruler of Nations
Creator and Keeper of all.
Humanity’s greatest need, desire, and satisfaction.
The One and Only Son.
We look up…
And we see Him.
Covered in blood that flows freely with life for the lost and hopeless.
He breathes the air of sin all around Him and opens His mouth and…
Words come forth from Holiness and…
And we hear Him.
Words from the One who is Life break through the
Of the moment.
Words from the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.
Words of love, devotion, care, and compassion.
Words to a mother and beloved disciple.
Words for you and for me.
Even as He is dying,
Crushed, by bearing the wrath of God
Paying, the penalty for humanity’s sin,
Gasping, for air to fill his lungs
As His broken heart pours every ounce of its strength into breaking the chains of sin that bound us…
While He is dying…
He looks down.
He sees us.
And He gives…All He came to give…all of Himself.
Jesus reaches down into our pain and gives His life and love.
He keeps on Giving.
He’s being poured out for His own.
The ones He came for. Prayed for.
He’s there giving all of Himself for His mother and His best friend.
He’s giving it all for you and for me.
He’s providing for His mom, taking care of tomorrows needs ─ today.
Making a way through every circumstance so that we can know…that
He is the God of your every need.
He’s living beyond himself, beyond His circumstances.
He sees your great need and meets it completely and perfectly in Himself.
Your greatest need and mine will always be