Good Friday – Assal Sukrabaar

Edited from a sermon I held on Good Friday

RADICAL OBEDIENCE

Today it’s Good Friday, where we remember Jesus’ death.

Today, I’d like to talk about JESUS. About his life and his death, and how this relates to our lives now.

Jesus was a human being

What we need to realize, is that Jesus was both God and man. He was human being. He had no ‘special power’ – except for the power of God working through him. Jesus lived without sin, and sometimes we think that was easy for him, because he was Jesus, after all!

But he was like us. He had good days and bad days.

One day he tried to get away from the crowd, but they still followed him. When he saw them he felt compassion, and he healed the sick among them.

We’re not different from Jesus. He experienced the same day to day life as we do.

Jesus was radical

Jesus didn’t follow all the rules all the time. Also, he wasn’t afraid of people getting mad at him, or not liking him.

At that time, there were people at the temple selling animals for sacrifices, and charging people who had to purify themselves before entering the temple. One day Jesus walks in, throws over the tables and chases away the people. And then he says: It is written, my house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.

Another day, he and his disciples walk through a grain field on the sabbath, and when his disciples are hungry they pick some grain to eat. The Pharisees, who always seem to be around, see this and get very mad, because this is against the rules they have for the Sabbath.

Another time he heals someone on the Sabbath. The man gets up, picks up his mat and walks away. When the Pharisees see this, they don’t see the miracle that just happened. They see a man who breaks a rule of the Sabbath!

But why does Jesus do this? Why was he so radical?

What Jesus wanted to do, was to show people they were stuck in their religious ideas. That what they did was not based on a relationship with the living God.

One man asks him which the greatest commandment in the law is, according to Jesus. And this is what Jesus says.

Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the Law and the Prophets. Matt 22:37

Now that is radical.

These are not just rules to follow. You can’t ‘love’ someone just because someone tells you to. Love has to be real.

Jesus’ message was radical: Love God. Love your neighbour. And also, love your enemy.

He wanted to show people that it’s not about rules they made up themselves.

He wanted to show them that everything is about love.

If he had been like any other teacher in Israel, he wouldn’t have had so many followers. Jesus had new things to say, and there was something about it that made people want to follow him. His disciples dropped their work to follow him. They actually left their source of income, to follow him. That means there was something about Jesus.

He was different!

People knew who he was, they had heard of him.

No one would have heard of him if he had acted like everyone else.

Jesus was obedient

In everything Jesus did, he was obedient. It was the source of all he did. He didn’t care about what the people would say, or if they liked him, or if they would get mad.

The only thing that mattered to him, was to do the wil of God.

This is something very important we need to realize. People can be radical and rebellious for all sorts of reasons. To get attention, or to change something they want to see changed.

But Jesus didn’t have any of these motives.

EVERYTHING he did, was in obedience.

EVERYTHING he did was in line with Gods will.

When he was 12 years old, he wa in Jerusalem for a festival. When his parents went home, they realized he was not with them anymore. So they went back to search for him. When they found him, he was in the temple, talking and asking questions to the teachers.

They were very worried, and they asked Jesus why he did this.

And this is what he said. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Even as a 12 year old boy, he acted in obedience to his Father.

Ultimate radical obedience

Jesus being who he was – radical and obedient – resulted in his death on the cross. And that is what we remember today.

Can you imagine knowing you’ll die soon? How would you feel?

Let’s read from Matthew chapter 26, verses 36 to 46.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples: “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter: “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

Notice what he prays there.

He doesn’t beg God to change the plan.

He says: “if it is possible” – “BUT as you will”.

And, “your will be done”.

Even in the deepest desperation, this is the core of his prayer.

Think about that!

He is terrified. But still…he wants Gods will to be done.

This is what happens next.

He is betrayed by one of his followers, one of his friends.

He is arrested, right there.

They spit in his face, they beat him, they humiliate him, they mock him.

And he is crucified.

Crucifiction was the one of the most painful methods to execute people. It was also a very humiliating method. They would put up the cross on a public place where everyone could see them and humiliate them.

Jesus went through all of that…and remember, he was a human being. Who experienced pain and fear.

His death was the ultimate obedience.

What can we learn from Jesus’ life and death?

There’s many things we can learn – but I’d like to point out some aspects.

We too, can be radical in obedience.

Do people know who you are?

Are you different from the people around you, because you know God? Or are you just like everyone else?

We shouldn’t be concerned by what people think of us, or if they like us.

There’s MANY people in Nepal who do not live according to Gods will.

That’s our opportunity to be different. To be radical.

We are often afraid to be different. We don’t want people to think we are weird. We don’t want to stand out. But if you know God, you HAVE to be different.

Our lives should be different from the people that don’t know God.

We should love God, and our neighbours, and also our enemies.
We should be making a difference in our communities. By living out love, like Jesus did. By teaching truth from Gods word.

And by showing people that it’s not about following religious rules, but about a relationship with the living God.

We should be hanging out with the people that don’t know him. Jesus did go to the synagogue and spent time with believers. But he also hung out with sinners. And by sinners, I mean the people that didn’t know God.

A lot of people didn’t really like that.

If you live like Jesus did, you WILL be different, people WILL notice you and they WILL ask questions. They will wonder why you are different. Some people may not like it, others may be curious. Some people will get upset and others may not want to be your friend anymore.

But all of these things you should not care about more than you care about doing what Jesus told us to do.

But before you go to a temple down the road to make a mess, make sure you check in with God first. It’s all in obedience.

And that’s the last thing I’d like to talk about. Put Gods will first in your life.

Jesus ONLY did things according to Gods will.

He never sinned, because he never acted outside Gods will.

We can’t be perfect, but we can set priorities in our lives. And our first priority should be obedience to Gods will.

Jesus’ death was not the end of the story. On Sunday we’ll celebrate he is risen from the death.

And through his pain and suffering and death, God was glorified.

The last commandment Jesus gives us, before he goes to heaven is:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19

Today, we can remember Jesus’ life and death. And as we do so, let’s be challenged and encouraged to be more like him – and to use his life as an example for ours.

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