Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday Meditation 3/4: Jesus Reigns at Golgotha

Jesus, the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5) crushes
the serpent, the accuser of God's people (Rev.12:10).
Under the Spirit's direction, Jesus is crucified (John 19:16-37).

Many think that Golgotha got its name because David buried the head of Goliath of Gath there (1Sam.17:54). Goliath was a picture of Satan, the great accuser of God's people (1Sam.17:10).

Back in Genesis 3:15 God promised that Messiah would crush the head of the serpent, Satan, the accuser. Here at Golgotha we see the fulfillment of that prophecy - Jesus is lifted up - King over Golgotha, over the skull, his foot crushing the head of Satan - the greater Goliath - winning victory over sin, death and the devil.

Turning to the detail, Jesus has an incredible presence of mind in the face of such rejection and suffering. He is no victim like you or I would be - wallowing in self-pity and having the crucifixion done to us. No, he is fully compos mentis ensuring that all his duties are completed faithfully. He really is reigning - even from the cross.

He is a diligent son of man, making sure his earthly mother is adequately provided for after his departure, but more than that, he is the diligent son of God, making sure that everything down in the Old Testament prophecies for him to fulfill is faithfully fulfilled.

After baring the full wrath of God for sin by being separated from his Father for three hours, he declares that it is finished - the work is done the curse broken (although news would only officially spread after his resurrection). Jesus then celebrates with some wine, albeit sour wine.

Back in Luke 22:18 Jesus declared that he would drink no more wine until the Kingdom of God came. When did that kingdom arrive? After the three hours that Jesus was separated from his Father on the cross (It would go public at Pentecost).

By declaring that he would not drink wine until the kingdom of God came, Jesus was making a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6). You took one of these vows if you were engaging in holy war and you weren't allowed to go anywhere near grapes. That we now see Jesus drinking this sour wine demonstrates that his holy war is over and his vow fufilled. He is inaugurating a celebration!!

Not only that - Jesus wills himself dead! Have you ever tried to die by telling yourself to do so? Why not try now? Still here? I thought so. That's because you and I aren't God, but Jesus is and that's the kind of thing he can do.  He has total authority to give up his life in death and take it back again in resurrection (Jn.10:18) and that is exactly what he does, not in defiance of his Heavenly Father, but in obedience to him. The two guys next to him can't will themselves dead, so they have to have their legs broken (which means they die of asphyxiation because they can't stand up to breathe).

Jesus' side is opened and from there flows "blood and water," symbolic of baptism and communion. The way is open for all to come and drink in fellowship with God.

Jesus is in control. Jesus reigns victorious. And he wants you in.

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