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Isaiah 53:5,6:

    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

    6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Good Friday is all about remembering the arrest, trial, mocking, beating, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus Christ. Thinking of His pain and suffering leads to tears. But we have a great hope because we know that “it’s only Friday and Sunday’s comin’!”

A Plea to Pastors

April 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

A plea to those who will stand before an audience this weekend:

Please let the Gospel have the spotlight.

Your task is not to wow an audience with your skills or research. Your task is to relay the Good News, and get out of the way. Don’t use gimmicks. Don’t use current events. Don’t use smoke and mirrors. Use the powerful story of redemption that is given to us in Scripture.

Review the example of John the Baptist in John 3:22-36. The words of John the Baptist make clear what our role should be in evangelism.

28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”                                                                                John 3:28-30

The Good News has advanced around the world for thousands of years simply by the tools God has provided: Scripture, prayer, testimony, and the sacraments. These tools give the spotlight to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. This is where the spotlight belongs.

Please put down the remote to the laser show. Cancel the stuntman dressed like an angel swinging from the rafters in your sanctuary. Stop. Really, just stop.

This is my plea:

Please let the Gospel have the spotlight.

As a preparation for Good Friday and Easter, you need to read The Weeping Chamber by Sigmund Brouwer.

The Weeping Chamber is a novel that sets the story of Jesus’ last days into a very personal context. The story is told from the view of Simeon of Cyrene. He is in a deep despair over his sin, and he has left his family with no intent to return. At the same time, Jesus is making his way into Jerusalem for the Passover and His final week. It is amazing to watch as these two men travel toward a head-on collision that happens on the road to Golgotha.

Brouwer is able to tell a fictitious story that deals with personal guilt, while also telling a very Biblically accurate account of Jesus’ final week as a man. It is a great historical look at the events of Passover and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but the uniqueness of the book is how this is told through the lens of a broken man.

This book was handed to me a number of years ago, and it has been a staple of this week for me ever since. Even after reading it for what seems like the millionth time, the book always becomes personal. As I put myself in the shoes of Simeon, I come face to face with the redemption that is available through Jesus Christ.