A Good Friday Message:
We often talk about the Passion of Jesus or the suffering of Jesus or sacrifice of Jesus. Today I want to take us through Jesus' Journey to the cross, looking through a slightly different lens - The surrender of Jesus.
1. Surrender of will: Gethsemane (The night before, After the last supper)
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” -Mark 14:32-35
“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of bool falling to the ground” – Luke 22:44
2. Surrender of Power: Arrest (At night)
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people…Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, dew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in it’s place”, Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?...” Matthew 26:47,50-54
“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. Don’t you realize I have the power to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” – John 19:10-11
3. Surrender of Rights: Unfair Trial (6AM)
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, lead him away and turned him over to Pilate. – Mark 15:1
At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them – Luke 22:66 (Very short trial!)
The Chief priests accused him of many things. So again, Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. – Mark 15:4-5
4. Surrender of Freedom: Handed over to Pilate (7AM)
“But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrender Jesus to their will. – Luke 23:23-25
5. Surrender of Pride and Dignity: (8 AM) Lead to Golgotha
“The Men who were guarding Jesus began mocking him and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him” – Luke 22:63-65
“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again saying, “Hail, the king of the Jews!” and they struck him in the face. – John 19:2-3
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull – John 19:16-17
The portrayal of the cross is often a Beautiful image. As if Jesus was crucified on a designer cross on a lush hilltop with the sun setting behind. The reality is much darker. Calvary, AKA, Golgotha was, “The place of the Skull”.
6. Surrender of Body: The Crucifixion (9AM – 12PM – the third hour)
Mark 15:23 “Then they offered him wine mixed with Myrrh, but he did not take it.
Mark 15:24 “And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes they cast lots to see what each would get.”
7. Surrender of Spirit: Jesus died. (12PM-3PM)
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he said this, he breathed his last.” – Luke 23:44-46
“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:28-30
“No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do.” – John 10:18 (CEV)
When someone surrenders, there is also obviously someone who is victorious right? Who was victorious in this story? Who was defeated?
Why did Jesus have to go through all of this? Why Did he do this? Because of his great love for us in order to defeat death and pay the price of our sins and reunite us with God. Through his surrender, sacrifice and death, Jesus paid the price for our disobedience and brought about the most glorious victory for mankind ever.
Jesus did not surrender to man or the devil, but to the will of God. He submitted to God for all mankind, achieving victory for us over death.
How does Jesus want us to respond? He already told us before his death:
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? – Luke 9:22-25
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. – Matthew 16: 22-27
The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom where less is more, where the least are the greatest, where the last come first and death leads to life!
Will you surrender your life to Jesus today? It always begins with a surrender of our will. Will you surrender your will to Jesus today?
There are only two ways to live, to surrender to my own will or to surrender to the will of God. One leads to life through Christ, the other to death. Which will we choose today?
All to Jesus I surrender.