Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
I'd like you to imagine, that you're sitting in front of a TV set, with the remote control in hand, and as the TV comes on you see a picture of Jesus on the cross, and you hear the words:
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, See Him dying on the tree!
How long is it before all of a sudden you have changed to another channel?
There is good reason why the events of Good Friday tend to make us feel uncomfortable. When the text speaks about striking the shepherd, it certainly means his death, but it means more, because the sheep begin to scatter much earlier, at the trial, with the arrest, while he prayers, we don't like suffering, especially when we feel responsible, we don't like suffering and if we could we'd change to another channel, we don't like suffering, and it pains us to watch Jesus suffer and die for our sins. We don't like suffering, and the guilt that it was our sins that were pounding the nails into Jesus hands and feet is more than we can bear - and so we want to run away, run away and pretend it was only a bad dream - run away, and hide until Easter has come, until the victory has been won, until we sing the hallelujah's again.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning, Was there ever grief like His?
But it is good for us to be here, to see the Savior suffer and die alone, to see him pay for our sins. It is good because we see how much he loves us, for having been abandoned by those he dies to save, he doesn't quit, he doesn't give up - but alone he suffers and dies paying our debt, forgiving our sins, suffering our punishment - even though he was innocent. Do you know anyone who would do so much for you?
It would be one thing if you were some one worth saving, someone who would discover something that would change the world, someone who would make a difference, someone who was worthy of sacrifice - but we know who we are - every time we look at the 10 commandments we see our sins - we see our shame, we see our guilt - we see that we are poor miserable sinners - that there is nothing good in us - that all our good works are filthy rags.
Ye who think of sin but lightly Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate
But Jesus saw something, something worth dying for - not in who we are - good for nothing sinners - but in who we could become - the children of God, the new creation the forgiven, the redeemed. He saw that God loved us enough to give his son to save us - to save us by his sacrifice, on the cross. Our life is worth something because we have been redeemed by the holy precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of God's only Son - we were bought with a price, and if you don't understand the price, how can you value the life we now have - because Jesus dies for our sins. We can't watch alone, alone we would change the channel, alone we would run away, alone we would slumber and sleep - and so God brings us together, strengthens us with his grace, showers us with his mercy, so that we can keep watch, so that we can see the love of God at work for our salvation.
Here we have a firm foundation; Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation, His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
And that's why we've come - to see the firm foundation of our faith, the refuge for the lost, the rock of our salvation - the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.