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For God’s Sake, Opinion

For God’s Sake: celebrate Jesus

| Michael Bannon
There is an unwritten rule in Christianity requiring men’s prayer meetings to be scheduled for O-dark-thirty. No problem, I am one of those annoying “morning people” who wake up before their alarm goes off, bright and cheery, ready to meet the day. So, in my present role as lead pastor at COMPASS Church, I scheduled our weekly leadership prayer meetings for 6:30 am.
Michael Bannon Headshot
Michael Bannon Headshot

One man on the leadership team lives near me, so he picks me up. He is decidedly NOT a morning person. When I climb into his car and greet him with a cheery “Good morning!” his responses are varied: “Says you.” or “Is it really?” or “What’s good about it?” Some mornings it is a barely audible grunt. Message received.

By the time we arrive at the church, he is fully awake and talkative. Soon we are with our brothers in Christ praying for the needs of our congregation. Any morning begun with prayer is a good morning.

In the Christian liturgical calendar, tomorrow is Good Friday. Someone might ask, “What’s good about it?” When we rehearse the events of that day in Judea some two thousand years ago, we would be hard-pressed to find anything good about it. We might call it Ghastly Friday.

Jesus of Nazareth, though famous among the people for his miracles and his Scripture-rich, uniquely authoritative teaching, had raised the ire of the Jewish religious leaders, who accused him of blasphemy. They plotted to kill him.

They secretly arrested him, put him through a rigged trial, then handed him over to the Romans as a would-be king who challenged Caesar. The Roman prefect, Pilate, had him viciously scourged to the very threshold of death. He was then made to carry a rough-hewn, crossbeam to the place of execution, and was spiked to it through his wrists. The crossbeam was hoisted onto a post, to which they also spiked his feet. He hung there for hours, naked and in agony, slowly asphyxiating, while a crowd of onlookers jeered at him. He cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” then later, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Then he died. Ghastly!

It is when we probe further into the Scriptures and learn why this happened that we discover why this Friday is called good. The Bible teaches that the wages of our sin against God is death, yet God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ, the sinless one, died in our place. It was for that very purpose that he, God the Son, came to earth. The good news is that whoever puts their faith in him alone will know the joy of sins forgiven and the assurance of everlasting life. That is good! The guarantee is Jesus’ resurrection.

At O-dark-thirty this Sunday morning, COMPASS will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, then baptize some new believers, then gather yet again to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. It promises to be a good morning.

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