“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

- John 3:16


Good Friday services are difficult for me. The songs and the sermons that pound away at the pounding Jesus took; his bruising and bleeding, the stripes and the scars. As if I should be motivated to believe and obey simply because his pain was so intense. 
Of course, I do not minimize our Lord's excruciating ordeal. And, yes, I am truly sorrowful it was my sin that required his sacrifice. But it is essential to realize his submission to that death sentence was a by-product of his love—from eternity past. My gospel witness, sharing the gift of God’s grace that proceeds from the cross to all who believe, should be motivated by joy—the deepest gratitude of knowing that God in Christ has done for me what I could never even attempt for myself. 
I do not need to wait for Resurrection Sunday. Jesus was victorious every stage of his life from birth, to maturity, in ministry, and yes, even when dying on the cross. Good Friday was not a setback before some bottom-of-the-ninth rally.
As a witness to this passion-provoked story, my life and my conversations must express and explain how God’s eternal passion opens the door to our salvation and our culture’s transformation. I must become part of the community of Christ-followers who “make love (their) aim” (1 Corinthians 14:1). 
I am proposing the appropriate sorrow for our sin is not to feel sorry for Jesus every Good Friday, but to be moved by the tests, trials, and culminating torture of his incarnation to show and tell the good story of what Jesus’ death achieved and what God offers to those who trust him. 
Make our Lord’s passion, your passion. Not his pain, but the love that sent him, the love that saved us, the love he wants to express and extend through us.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for what you did, but even more, why you did it. Your submission to the eternal plan of the Sovereign God, the Savior, our Spirit, defeated death, provided forgiveness, and opened the door of endless, limitless life with God. Make me into a love-motivated, gospel-sharing Christ-follower. Amen.
- Written by Phil Miglioratti

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