Tomorrow is Good Friday. Many of us will file into churches and be reminded that our new lives came at a significant price. We will remember that the cost of our redemption was Jesus’ own blood. We will be reminded of the cross where God displayed both His love and His justice.
But, I’m nervous for us.
I’m nervous that we may merely go through the motions tomorrow. I’m nervous that whatever Good Friday service we attend tomorrow will be nothing more than an item on our "To Do" list. I’m nervous that we will sing songs with a more somber tone, hear a more sobering sermon, take communion and head home…completely unaffected by the weight of what really happened on what we call Good Friday.
Good Friday is a gift to the Church. We have the opportunity to be struck afresh by the reality of Jesus’ brutal death in our place for our sin. We have the opportunity to have our affections stirred by the display of Christ’s love on the cross.
In order to take full advantage of this Good Friday, we must prepare our hearts ahead of time. We can’t blow in and out, expecting to be moved. We must to give thoughtful and careful attention to this significant day. Here are three ways to get ready for Good Friday…
Meditate On The Passion Narratives
Each of the four Gospels record details of Jesus’ gruesome death (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 18-19). These are painful, heart-breaking texts that reveal what my sin subjected Jesus to. Set aside time and pick one, or read all of these narratives. Pay attention to the details. Engage your mind, imagining what it would have sounded like, smelled like, and looked like to watch Christ endure what He did. Read slowly and prayerfully, taking the time necessary to reflect.
Spend The Day Fasting
Fasting cuts out intentional time and space normally given to other activities, for the purpose of getting alone with God. Fasting reminds us that our sufficiency is in Christ and not the many things we often use to feed our souls. Typically, fasting makes us think of foregoing food, but you can fast from anything. Maybe tomorrow you could skip a meal (or all of your meals), or shut off your media intake and shift the eyes of your heart to the cross. Find time you would typically spend doing something else, and intentionally redirect that time to the Lord.
Identify Your Specific Sin
I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful, I tend to think about sin in a general, rather than a specific sense. The danger in this, is that sin becomes an idea rather than a reality. This means Christ died for a vague idea we label “sin” and not for the specific ways our hearts and lives have declared war on the God who made us. On the cross, Jesus dealt a definitive blow to my sin and yours. However, unless you get specific regarding the sin in you that put Christ on that cross, it won’t grow the gratitude in your heart it should.
Sunday we will celebrate Christ’s victorious resurrection! At Redemption we’ll sing loud, proclaim the gospel, and baptize people. But… We can’t celebrate the empty tomb until we’ve been to the bloody cross.
Don’t go through the motions tomorrow. Don’t miss out on what God wants to do in you. Seize this gracious opportunity to remember the price Jesus paid for you, as we remember Good Friday together.