Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday Message - Humbled to the Point of Death

On Monday of this week, I had to make a trip to Carrollton, Georgia to complete some personal business. I had to leave our home in Newnan very early in the morning. Because of that, I didn't have time to make myself my usual country breakfast. So, before I could complete my business, I had time to visit the McDonald's in Carrollton on Bankhead Highway. While I was there and enjoying my breakfast, I was praying for the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart regarding the Good Friday message.

As all Christians know, Good Friday is the day when Jesus is crucified. He suffers the indignity of a trial with false accusations made by the Pharisees against him. While in the hands of the Roman soldiers, he is mocked, beaten and scourged. He is forced to walk through the streets carrying his own cross. These are the same people who just a week earlier celebrated him by laying down palms and shouting, "Hosanna in the highest." Streams of blood and sweat are running down his face as he creeps along that weary path to the place known as Golgotha.

At any moment, Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to level the earth, but he doesn't. While in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays, prior to being betrayed, that this bitter cup pass from him. However, he ends his prayer with a simple statement, "Yet not as I will, but as you will."

The night before his so-called trial, he and his disciples share their last meal. During the course of that evening, Jesus humbly washes the feet of each of his disciples. He tells them in John 13:14-15, "14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you."

Jesus became and remains our example of what it means to have a servant attitude. This brings me back to that McDonald's in Carrollton. While there, I had an opportunity to meet a dedicated young man who handled the facilities there at that store. We talked about his job and responsibilities which he took very seriously. The young man threw himself into his position and enjoyed what he did. He did not boast that his job was the most important or that he was currying favor with his supervisor. His desire and passion were driven by one thing alone, to give the customers the best experience possible in that store. Although many would look at his position as being menial, he humbly did the tasks that would give the customer a wonderful feeling about the cleanliness of the restaurant.

When I thanked him for all that he did while I was there in making sure that the floors and tables for dry for me to enjoy my breakfast and coffee, he responded, "It is what I enjoy doing. I serve the customers and want them to feel special." No better words could have been spoken by such a wise and dedicated young man.

There was another man who refused to be served but served others. Jesus made it a point to make people feel special by showing them the love of our Heavenly Father. He did not make a distinction between rich or poor. All were welcomed by him. 

In Paul's letter to the church in Philippi, he tells us in chapter 2 of the elements of a Christ-like attitude. Last year, I spoke on what it means to have a Christ-like attitude in a message series. If you missed it, it is still available on our podcast site. One of the key elements that Paul tells us about is humility. Starting with verse 7 and running through verse 8, Paul writes, "7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross." In two verses, Paul sums up Jesus and his sacrifice for us. He humbled himself in obedience to God's will and was crucified for our sins. He became a servant. Looking back at the supper he shared with his disciples, he became a servant and washed their feet. During those times, that was the lowest position of any household. Any servant who had to wash the feet of the guests did not enjoy doing it. In Jesus's case, he humbled himself before his disciples and in one act showed them how much he loved them.

So as you go through this Good Friday, I ask that you to remember not only the sacrifice of Jesus and his crucifixion but also his attitude and character trait of humbling himself in obedience to God and His will. We, as Paul tells us in verse 5 of Philippians 2, "must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." That means we must not "be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." When we exemplify a Christ-like attitude to the world, we can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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