Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Good Friday

Rev. Dr. Philip Varghese
Sinai Mar Thoma Diocesan Center, NY
3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?

Each one of us may have different thoughts and memories about Good Friday. For many, it may be the memory about the Seven Words from the Cross and for some others it may be that of a long and tiring day of worship. In our childhood we used to compete with each other in doing prostrations. The idea was to see how quickly one finishes the prostrations and also  how many. If thirsty, there was sour coffee  to remind the wine vinegar that was given to Jesus. Then we enjoyed  the fellowship meal after the service, at about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We watched with dismay the procession through the  streets organized  by the Roman Catholic Church in which young and old were carrying crosses and kneeling on the way, remembering the stations of the cross where Jesus knelt due to the weight of the cross on His way to Calvary.

Do we really involve ourselves, or miss the point, in our rituals and worship? We can have worship services uttering some words or singing songs, without actually involving in it or without understanding the meanings of the words  we use.

The letter to the Galatians is Paul's letter to a church he established mainly from Gentile converts. They had accepted his teaching and were converted, and had received the Holy Spirit. So he reminds the basics of his teaching.

1.Recognize the Relevance of the Cross.
Paul had vividly narrated the story of the crucifixion of Jesus to them. The messages of Paul  emphasized the Christ who suffered for the sake of humanity. He very well knew that following Christ involves difficulties and problems. It is quite natural that when there were no written records for them to review the message, they forgot the central message. But what about us? We have different versions of the Bible and plenty of literature depicting the redemptive work of Christ for reference and meditation. But have we not forgotten the centrality of the Cross in Christian life by resorting to easy paths and cheap salvation? There is no crown without the cross. May this Good Friday help us to recognize the relevance of the cross in Christian life.

2.Receive the Grace of God
The question was what mattered the most, the Law or faith? Paul sights the example of Abraham. He was reckoned as righteous because of his unwavering faith.

The preachers who infiltrated in to the Galatians Church were Jewish Christians who tried to emphasize the significance of the Law. They wanted the Galatians to follow Jewish rituals and practices like circumcision, etc. But Paul tries to tell them that having been baptized and received the Holy Spirit, there is no need to follow the Jewish practices. If they do it, they belittle or reject the grace of God. In our time also there are people who try to seduce believers by advocating re- baptism and other practices. They conveniently remove the words, 'as we have forgiven our debtors' from the Lord's Prayer. Some argue that there is no need to confess our sins, once we accept Jesus as savior. These false teachers are not ready to go to non-believers, instead want to choose the easy path by trying to convert the believers. They are fishers in the ponds unwilling to face the vast and roaring sea. The grace of God is nobody's monopoly. It is free for all who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and follow Him.

3. Renounce the work of the Flesh
Paul speaks about the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in chapter 5. When we reject the work of the flesh, we are under the grace of God. May our meditation on


Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony, lest I forget thy love for me, lead me to Calvary (Jennie Hussey, 1874-1958)

Will the worship and meditations on this Great Day challenge me to carry the Cross of Christ and follow Him? 

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