APRIL 22, 2011







    In reading the four Gospels of the New Testament we find that Jesus faced at least 15 matters on the day He was crucified.  His day started at midnight with Him going before the High Priest Caiaphas  in Mark 14:53 and ended somewhere after 3:00 PM with His burial in John 19:39-42.  It was a long hard day for Jesus during which He was falsely tried, beaten, whipped, scourged, cursed at, spat upon, ridiculed, mocked, and crucified.  Can you imagine all of this?  The Creator and Redeemer of the world.  The Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.  The God of Grace and Glory going through all of that for YOU AND ME!  WHAT A WONDERFUL SAVIOR WE HAVE IN JESUS THE LORD! 


    Crucifixion was a terrible thing for anyone to go through.  The Romans had crucified thousands during their rule in the Middle East and many people actually died while they were going through the “pre-crucifixion” torture because it was so gruesome.  Then, if they survived that torture, when they were placed on the cross they faced terrible conditions that caused their entire body to be marred beyond recognition with their arm and leg joints being pulled out of place and often the flesh of their body and face was beaten down to the bone.  Jesus went through all of that physical punishment as we learn from the Bible, but He also endured the spiritual agony of becoming sin for YOU AND ME!  The spiritual suffering He faced was head and shoulders above the physical suffering He experienced.  Others suffered physically through crucifixion, but ONLY JESUS suffered for the sin of others, bore the sin of others, and experienced all the full wrath of God for all the sin of every living human being in His body.  Only Jesus bore ALL of YOUR SIN so that YOU could live with Him forever in Heaven!  There is no way we can even begin to associate with what He experienced.  The question is, do we appreciate it?


    What does the crucifixion of Christ mean to you?  How does the crucifixion of Christ affect you today?  How has the crucifixion of Christ changed your life?


    These are very practical questions for each of us to ask.  Yesterday I was speaking to our dear friend Brother Don Foor.  I love speaking with Don because we always end up in great biblical discussions.  Time flies when I visit him. We were talking about the crucifixion and both agreed that if we were as committed to Christ as He was committed to us when He hung on that old rugged cross, our lives and ministries would be extremely different.  And you know, that is so true.


    Think of it.  If we were as committed to Christ as He was to us on the cross, we would look for greater ways to serve Him, we would not make excuses for failing Him, we would live in total obedience to Him, we would forgive others as He has forgiven us, we would obey the Father as He obeyed the Father, we would reach out to others as He reached out to us, we would put Him ahead of our personal desires as He put us ahead of His personal feelings, we would give to Him as He gave to us and we would be willing to die for Him as He was willing to die for us.  And you know, all of that is just the beginning.  Only God knows how our lives would change if we really and truly allowed the crucifixion to impact us through and through.


    Of course, perhaps you are saying, “Pastor Gary, I really have allowed the crucifixion of Christ to change my life.”  Well, if that is the case, PRAISE THE LORD!  But, I know with me, that I have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go!  More and more as I think of what Christ did for me and as a result I want to do more for Him.  After 47 years of being saved and 37 years of pastoral ministry, I want to do more for the Lord than ever.  I want to learn more about the crucifixion of Christ, and what He went through for me.  In fact, as I am writing this article, my mind is just now going to the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote in Philippians 3:10, “THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, BEING MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH…”  The older I become, the more I understand what Paul was saying and desire the same in my life.  Don’t you?


    Well, on this day in which we honor Christ for His crucifixion, let’s all really take a good long and deep look at what He did for us on that gruesome day, the 14th of Nisan, 30 AD.  In fact, let’s ask Him to personally speak to us through His word and the Holy Spirit so that we will grow in Him, serve Him, worship Him and live for him in a greater way from this day forth until we see Him face to face.


    Today we will be having the privilege of meeting with 6 other churches for our GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE between 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM.  I trust you will be able to join us in this very special worship service.  If for some reason you cannot attend, you may listen on WJSM 92.7 FM live, or watch our live streaming at www.fbcaltoona.org.  But if you can, please come on out this afternoon, not for the event itself, but for the Lord Jesus Christ.  You know, this is an historical service as it has been years since this many fundamental churches in our area have joined together for a service like this.  I am praying that this is the very beginning of many things we can do together with others of life precious faith in our region to stand for Christ.    


    Have a godly day and Keep Looking UP!


    Pastor Gary