“He who is forgiven much loves much, and so when we focus in on the sufferings of Jesus, we see how costly it was for Jesus to forgive our sins, and we find our love growing and growing because of his payment.”

The final week of Lent leads us into Good Friday and Easter. Good Friday is the “beautiful, scandalous” night when Jesus, the only truly innocent one, died as a criminal and paid for our sins on the cross. Easter Sunday is the glorious day we find a resurrected Jesus who has overcome Satan, sin, and death to forgive us and bring us eternal life.

For this reason, the assigned readings for the sixth week of Lent revolve around the “passion” of Jesus: his suffering on the cross for our sins. He who is forgiven much loves much, and so when we focus in on the sufferings of Jesus we find our love growing because of the cost he paid to save us. After Good Friday, Easter is an explosion of rejoicing, praise, and worship to a God who would sacrifice so much and produce a triumph so beautiful. The assigned readings for this week are: Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, and Matthew 27:11-54.

Isaiah 50:4-9 takes us to the Old Testament, to a prophecy about the coming “Servant of the Lord” who would endure suffering to bring salvation to his people. Instead of running from pain, he withstands it so he might help others. In fact, he “sets his face like flint”; in other words, he does not take his eyes off of his saving purpose. Luke would pick up this phrasing to describe Jesus who “sets his face” to go to Jerusalem and lay down his life (Luke 9:51). Jesus too would “give his back to those who strike” as he went to the cross for you and for me.

Psalm 31:9-16 now brings us into the spotlight. We are grieved and we waste away when we realize the depth of our sin: “my strength fails because of my iniquity” (v. 10). Sin wages war on us internally and externally: both our own sin and life in a sinful world conspire to undo us. What is our hope? The Psalmist puts his trust in the Lord: “I say, ‘You are My God,’ my times are in your hands, rescue me from the hand of my me in your steadfast love” (vv. 14-15). Could he have known that God’s steadfast love would go so far to save him from iniquity?

Matthew 27 and Philippians 2 tell us how far God would go. The cross was not just a political ploy or a social accident. It was the plan of God to take our place. The psalmist lamented his own suffering at the hands of others, but would he have ever thought God’s own Son would suffer for him? Philippians 2 takes a step back and gives us the cosmic perspective: just by coming to earth, Jesus already sacrificed more than any of us could conceive. He would lower himself even further: to the point of death on a cross. On Good Friday, we wait in that moment, remembering how low the glorious Jesus would have to descend for us to be forgiven. But on Easter Sunday, we find ourselves waiting for something new: God has raised Jesus, and one day every knee will bow. Our sins are forgiven, our slate is clean, we are born again and made new creations. All because Jesus set his face like flint to suffer in our place and purchase our forgiveness.  

Lent helps us reflect on our sin, our need for a savior, and the magnitude of the price Jesus would pay on our behalf.  We hope you will join us at our Good Friday and Easter services, where we will remember together how good a Savior we have in Jesus.

Good Friday services will be held on Friday, April 14th at 7pm and 9pm. Childcare and Jr. Church will only be available at the 7pm service.

Easter services will be held on Sunday, April 16th at 8am, 10am, and 12pm. There will be an Easter brunch in the courtyard in between services.

Brian Colmery

Brian serves the church by overseeing preaching and Sunday morning services at Cornerstone.

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