Day of Extremes

Within a 24-hour period—from Thursday night to Friday evening—we see several extremes. Today, we live in a time of extremes: extreme sports, extreme toys, extreme hair, extreme clothing designs, even the ultimate ridiculousness shown in “Extreme Sisters.” But this day is a different kind of extreme.

  • Extreme servanthood: The night before, we see the King of kings and Lord of lords washing His disciples’ feet. Would I do that? I can’t even imagine that kind of humility! The ironic thing is we find the disciples arguing about who is the greatest—a reoccurring topic recorded in various places in all the Gospels—right before Jesus’ amazing example (and probably the reason for the act of servant hood)! However, they don’t know what’s coming. They just watched Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy (Zech. 9:9). So, perhaps in their minds, the Messianic kingdom is right around the corner! Finally! After three years of teaching and serving and sacrificing—they get to be the big cheeses! What was going to happen the next day–Good Friday–would be a bit like having a child expect a party for his birthday and instead you take him to the nursing home. because the day was not going to be all about them but all about their Servant Savior.
  • Extreme heart burden: As humans, we can never understand the extreme weight of the burden Jesus carried as He headed to the cross. So often, we are so focused on the physical agony of the cross that we forget to see the pain Jesus suffered internally.
    • Knowing that Peter would indeed deny him and telling him so, and then facing His dear friend as Peter “vehemently” assures Jesus it would not happen (Mark 14:31). Jesus also shows His extreme faith in Peter, saying, “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32). Becoming the enemy of God. David Guzik writes: “The cup didn’t represent death, but judgment. Jesus was unafraid of death, and when He had finished His work on the cross — the work of receiving and bearing and satisfying the righteous judgment of God the Father upon our sin — when He finished that work, He simply yielded Himself to death as His choice. Jesus became, as it were, an enemy of God, who was judged and forced to drink the cup of the Father’s fury, so we would not have to drink from that cup. Taking this figurative cup was the source of Jesus’ greatest agony on the cross.”
    • The rejection of his own people. Has anyone ever spit in your face? Have you ever been punched in the face? Were you ever mocked for who you are? Oh, the agony He suffered by the hands of His own people! Again, I can’t even imagine, but it is probably good on this holy day to remember and try to imagine!
  • Extreme physical suffering:  In his picturesque way, Spurgeon says, “I am never afraid of exaggeration when I speak of what my Lord endured. All hell was distilled into that cup, of which our God and Savior Jesus Christ were made to drink.” If you have ever heard the details of the crucifixion, then you might understand a thimbleful of what Jesus faced there.
  • Extreme Love: Most of all, this day is a day of extreme love. Robert Harkness (1881-1961; pianist for R.A, Torrey and writer of 2000 hymns and Gospel songs) captures a glimpse of Jesus’ great love for each person whoever took a breath in his hymn, Why Should He Love Me So?

Love sent my Savior to die in my stead;
Why should He love me so?
Meekly to Calvary’s cross He was led;
Why should He love me so?

Why should He love me so?
Why should He love me so?
Why should my Savior to Calvary go?
Why should He love me so?

2 Nails pierced His hands and His feet for my sin;
Why should He love me so?
He suffered sore my salvation to win:
Why should He love me so?

3 O how He agonized there in my place;
Why should He love me so?

Nothing withholding my sin to efface;
Why should He love me so?

I suppose this hymn resonates with me because it asks the question which often pierces my heart. Why should He love me so? Why would He do all this for me? Oh, the price of a blood-washed soul! Someone once said, “Salvation is free but its cost was priceless.”

If you are a born-again believer, may you take the time to thank the Lord for his great sacrifice today. And if you haven’t yet made that choice to trust Him to take away your sins—repenting, believing, and receiving—may this day be made even more glorious by doing so!

Blessed Good Friday and Happy Resurrection Sunday—the day of impossible extremes! Because He lives!!!

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