Father, Forgive Them by Ron Clarkson

Father, Forgive Them
Good Friday Service
Ron Clarkson
March 24, 1989

PRAYER: Father, as we come to another Easter season, another Good Friday, we realize that it is 1989. The year is going by so fast. It is so easy to get lost in our daily rat race, it is hard to believe i of this year is gone. The days, weeks and years begin to go by so quickly. I pray you will teach us to number our days, that we would understand that you are the giver and taker of life. I pray that we would begin to slow down and think about begin to think about you, how much you love us, each and every one of us. Father you want us to think about you, to hear about you and respond to your love . . . but we are too busy, we get too wrapped up in our day to day lives and we forget about you. If anything happens from tonight's service, Father, I pray most of all we will see you. I pray that tonight we will focus on the suffering and death that Jesus Christ experienced for us.

I pray when we leave here quietly tonight that we will know that we have been in your presence, that is why we have come tonight, to be in your presence as we remember the day that Jesus Christ gave his life for us. In His name we pray.

OPENING ILLUSTRATION:

Of all the services we have here at OCC, or any church services I have been involved in, this service, the Good Friday Service, is probably the one that has the greatest impact on my life. Though this is not representative of what our typical Sunday morn-in-g is like, this particular service is special. It is special because it is so singular in its focus. This service will focus on our Lord Jesus Christ and those events that led up to his pain and anguish and suffering on the cross . . . for me, Ron Clarkson.

Martin Luther said that if you want to really understand the Christian message, then you first must start with the wounds of Christ. To understand those wounds, we take our minds back to the Garden, the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus had just finished the Passover meal with his disciples and told them he must die in a short while. At this meal he took bread and wine and shared it with them to symbolize how his body would be broken for them and his blood would be shed for them. Leaving the meal he took his three closest disciples and went to this garden to pray. He asked them to stay there and watch because he needed to spend time in prayer because the Bible said that his "soul was grieved." As Jesus prayed, the feelings of anxiety and grief where overwhelming him and he was emotionally wrenched knowing what was ahead of him. During this white knuckle time he felt the of anxiety of rejection, knowing the 12 people who were his closest friends, would soon reject him. He felt the anguish knowing that he would soon have to die, having the sin of every man and woman placed on him and knowing full well he himself had never sinned. He felt the agony of having to be separated from God, his heavenly Father. He had never, in all of eterni ...


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