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Good Friday 10th April 2020

On any other Good Friday, the churches in Wallingford would gather together in the Market Square as an act of witness. Yet today, due to the coronavirus, we are meeting online at 11.00 am and trusting that others will join us. But why bother? It is because we perceive the the death of Jesus from a very different perspective to others.

Let me explain.

Many see the execution of Jesus, as nothing extraordinary. Indeed there was nothing unusual about the summary execution of someone who fell-foul of the authorities in occupied Israel two-thousand years ago. It is argued therefore, that the only thing that was extraordinary were the claims of Jesus’ nearest and dearest.

However, as Christians we see the events that took place one Friday on a hill outside Jerusalem in a very different light. When writing to the church in Corinth, Paul writes:

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! (2 Cor 5:16).

Did you notice that? Something has changed in Paul’s thinking. His view of Jesus is now radically different to that which it once was. Paul no longer sees Jesus from an ‘earthly’ perspective, but now understands his life and death from a ‘heavenly’ perspective. And so should we! The apostle later states these wonderful truths:

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’ (2 Cor 5:19-21)

I encourage you appreciate the magnitude of that statement. Paul reveals that it was God, not any human authority that was the instigator of Jesus’ death. That Jesus, who was sinless, became the offering for our sin in order that we could be made right with God. Paul speaks of a simple, but a staggering exchange. On one hand, Jesus bore our ‘sin’. Why? In order, that on the other hand, we may receive his ‘righteousness’. Jesus died in order that you and I could be brought back into a right relationship with God.

It is for this reason, that despite the barbarity that took place at Calvary, two-thousand years ago, that we insist on calling our celebration of it, ‘Good’.

In thankfulness, Gareth