If pastors are to have a favorite service of the year, mine is Good Friday. I cannot get my mind around the fact that not only did God become a man, but as the God-Man, Christ died for me. Our service is simple: reading and commenting on those scriptures which highlight the passion of the Christ and singing hymns which praise the work of Christ on the cross. We then remember the death of Christ in the Lord’s Table and dismiss quietly. Some might say that is more like a funeral service than a worship service. Perhaps. But we do gather to worship and we worship by remembering his work on behalf of sinners.
I was reading the work of J.C. Ryle today titled Old Paths in which he has a chapter titled “The Cross of Christ.” While it was written over 130 years ago, one might think he was writing today. I found the following section in the chapter very interesting. In commenting on Paul glorifying in the cross of Christ, he wrote,
I feel that I must say something on this point, because of the ignorance that prevails about it. I suspect that many see no peculiar glory and beauty in the subject of Christ’s cross. On the contrary, they think it painful, humbling, and degrading. They do not see much profit in the story of His death and sufferings. They rather turn from it as an unpleasant thing.
Now I believe that such persons are quite wrong. I cannot hold with them. I believe it an excellent thing for us all to be continually dwelling on the cross of Christ. It is a good thing to be often reminded how Jesus was betrayed into the hands of wicked men,–how they condemned Him with most unjust judgment,–how they spit on Him, scourged Him, beat Him, and crowned Him with thorns,–how they led Him forth as a lamb to the slaughter, without His murmuring or resisting,–how they drove the nails through His hands and feet, and set Him up on Calvary between two thieves,–how they pierced His side with a spear, mocked Him in His sufferings, and let Him hang there naked and bleeding till He died. Of all these things, I say, it is good to be reminded (250-51).