Welcome and Worship Focus and Goals (Pastor)
“Live this Life” (Fords)
Dramatic Read – The Gospel of John 19:1-37 (Rachael Ellington)
“What Wondrous Love This Is” – (Pattie Graetz)
Presentation of the Good Friday Cross – Procession (Aaron Grosskemper)
“Ah, Holy Jesus” – (Patti Graetz)
Homily – The Three Crosses, Three Nails-The Final Three Words of Jesus (Pastor Steve Isaac)
On a Friday very close to the date of this one, 2000 years ago during the week of the Jewish Passover, Jesus of Nazareth (thirty-three years old), was arrested, judged, absolved, sentenced, beaten, crucified, and died. His three years of compassionate and merciful ministry to this world, were betrayed for thirty-three pieces of silver. From midnight to 3:00 am that Friday morning, Jesus had to ask his most trusted disciples three times to stay awake to pray. And as He had predicted, ‘before the rooster crows” His most vocal disciple would deny him three times. He would be condemned by the Jewish courts three times, yet Jesus would be absolved three times by Roman law. Pilate, tried three times to release him before finally uttering the words “I find no fault in Him” and then washing his hands of the blame and giving him over to be crucified by his own people. By 3:00 pm, that afternoon there was complete darkness over the sky as Jesus would breathe his last breath.
This Good Friday Gathering of the Reunion Community is to remember the suffering and passion of Christ and to participate together in message, song, communion and prayer. Tonight I’m going to share “The Three Crosses, Three Nails, and the Final Three Words of Jesus.”
The First Cross
We can identify the first Cross that early afternoon of what we now call Good Friday, as that of a thief. According to Luke’s Gospel, this thief was sentenced to be executed by crucifixion which was a customary Roman sentence for petty societal criminals. The severity of the judgment was meant to detour common criminals from making theft a career choice. His crucifixion (though on the same day), was for his own crimes and offenses – and unrelated to anything connected with Jesus. Luke records a brief but profoundly significant dialogue between this thief and Jesus as they hung on their cross of condemnation, humiliation and death. Even though this thief was sentenced to die, he followed the chorus of Roman soldiers as they mocked Jesus. History records that he sarcastically asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be “the Christ”? If you are a Savior, why don’t you save yourself – and while you are at it, why don’t you save my friend and I too?”
There is no record or evidence that Jesus ever responded to this man. He died in his unbelief and mockery of Jesus – condemned not only in this life, but the life to come. In that moment, his cross is darkened by rebellion and rejection of the only hope he would ever have.
The Second Cross
This too, is identified as the cross of a thief. Apparently an acquaintance and accomplice of the criminal on the first cross. Like him he was being crucified by judgment and decree of Roman law on the same day as Jesus. His story however, takes another path during those moments between Jesus and the first thief. As he hears his accomplice mock and challenge Jesus his heart and destiny are miraculously changed. He speaks to his accomplice… “This man is innocent – but we are not. Are you so lost that you can’t even fear God – knowing you are going to die here today on that cross?”
And then he speaks to Jesus with words from his heart, the words that would change the course of his eternal destiny. “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus in His mercy… says to him,
“Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
In that moment, His cross is covered by the redemption and blood of Jesus.
The Third Cross
The third cross is the single most recognized in the history of humanity. And yet, tonight on this Good Friday in Peoria, Az, I recognize this cross as the place where my Savior Jesus gave His life for me. I don’t know why Jesus loved me enough to die for me – I just know that even though I did not deserve it – He did. That is why I’m here standing in shadow of this Cross to tell you that after being scourged with wet leather straps tied off to razor-like metal, and after having beaten Him with blunt clubs and fists of rage they my hung my Jesus on this cross supported by three nails in him – one in the heel of each his palms (Destots Space) and then one driven through the tops of His folded feet. In the midst of the brutality and mortal suffering witnesses heard Him even then, forgiving His executioners and those who mocked Him. At 3:00 pm Jesus spoke His Final Three Words… “It is Finished.” However, twenty centuries later I know His love for me was not only just beginning – it was also being completed. I know that when Jesus spoke His final three words that day He was forgiving my every sin and wrong-doing, He was accepting the blame for every thing dark, ugly, and evil that has ever been in my heart and mind. The blood that dripped from His dying flesh was washing away my guilt and making me a new creation in Himself. If memory serves me correct I believe that during the last week of His life on earth, Jesus predicted His death three different times… but, none of His closest followers could have imagined the torment and triumph I also remember Him saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet will he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
And so as I stand tonight in the shadows of this cross – my cross… I offer to my King and Savior Jesus these three forever words to Him, “I am Yours”!
Prayer, Liturgy, Cross, and Communion
We are a Bible teaching Christian church in Peoria, AZ. We love God and teach His Truth. We invite you, your family and friends to join us on the faith journey, growing closer to one another, the Christian community of believers at Reunion, and most importantly with God. Read more about the timeless Truth we build our lives and faith in Christ on HERE.
We are conveniently located just off the 101 on 83rd Ave and Cactus Rd. Join us on Sunday mornings, Weds. evenings, and throughout the week at our small groups, meeting in homes around the Valley, including Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Goodyear, Litchfield, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and watch our live streaming service on YouTube.