Two points of view were raised in the previous post. Addressing the second, let me ask:
How did Jesus live His life on earth?
More specifically, what was His life’s focus? If we know that, then we should also ask this question:
Should we expect Jesus’ focus to change at His death?
Good Friday: The Biblical Perspective
Let’s begin at the beginning. What is the subject of the Bible? Is it Man or God? From cover to cover, God is the subject of Scripture. The first verse of Genesis assumes the existence of God and tells us He made all that is:
In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
It may surprise you to know the Biblical record closes with the LORD as the subject:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. – Revelation 22:17
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. – Revelation 22:21
John’s Gospel opens with words that take us right back to the book of Genesis:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
The whole of Scripture is about Who God is and what God has done. God is active in world affairs. What is the focus of His activity? Restoring His creation; redeeming what He made. His redemptive work will return to Man (through Jesus) what God gave to Man in the beginning: a perfect creation and a face-to-face fellowship with Him.
Now, Jesus knew the subject of His life was not Himself. You see, Man was not created to receive glory, but to give glory! The subject of Jesus life was the Father. That is how Jesus lived His life. When a person has that point of view, they live differently than other people. The following examples make the point:
- Jacob wrestled with God, his name was changed – life was different
- Moses encountered God at the burning bush – life was different
- Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up (Isaiah 6) – life was different
- Saul met Christ on the Damascus road – life was different
These and many others lived transformed lives because they knew life was not about themselves. The Father was such a focus of Jesus’ life He told everyone:
If you have seen Me you have seen the Father. – John 14:9
I don’t think more ‘proofs’ are really needed to make my point. However, John 17 records Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane just before He was crucified. What does He say there? What is His goal? He shows us:
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was…
It’s so obvious! Jesus lived for the Father’s glory. Would it even be possible for His death to be otherwise? I don’t think so.
Good Friday in 2016 & Beyond
Understanding the primary focus (not the only one) of Good Friday enables us to live today! Yes, you and I benefit from Jesus’ obedience to His Father. But the Father’s glory was the foremost focus of the cross. And yes, that messes with our sentimental, self-focused thoughts of Good Friday. Who but God could conceive our salvation? Give Him glory! Who but God could provide for it? Give Him glory!
To His glory we must lift our eyes from self-focus to God-focus. We are not the center of the universe; He is! He is the only reality there has ever been. Everything else will pass away – it’s all temporary! Our Father wants our focus to be on that which will never pass away. His gift to us is an eternal, abundant life lived in His power for His glory. That’s how Jesus lived. That’s how Jesus died! And, by the way, that is also our assignment. Jesus commissioned us to live as He lived. Notice in His own words:
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” – John 20:21
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Jesus, Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5:16
Soli Deo Gloria!