12 to 3

“Was it not necessary… (Luke 24:26)?”

My Mom – B.C.

Once a year, at noon, my Mom would make me come inside and sit quietly until 3PM, respectfully, because this was when Jesus was “dying on the cross.”  And not just dying, He was dying for me.  That was Good Friday in our house.  

School was out, so we usually played football in the street, that is, until she called me home.  I could read or watch television, as long as I was reverent.  To my Mother, it was necessary to honor Him.  This made a deep impression; I mattered to God, to an innocent man, as Pontius Pilate said of the Jew who claimed to be God, who was murdered for me.  

Mr “Two-Hand-Touch Football” 1970

My Mother’s parenting seems strange today since most folks ignore Good Friday.  If she were not blind, we’d have driven to church, but this was her best attempt at worship to remember Jesus.  Today is Good Friday, and I always feel weird about it.  Should I be sad, be like everyone else as if nothing has happened, or be happy He died for me?  What’s necessary now?  

Necessary is a funny word (writers are like this, drilling down on words and their meaning).  It means “essential, absolutely required.”  And this is what Jesus said after His death in chapter 24 of Luke’s resurrection account, “Was it not necessary?”

What does God have to do that is “essential” and “absolutely required?”  This is very deep stuff if you think hard about it.  What is demanded of God, by Himself, that is necessary?  Make sure Jupiter spins?  The sun sets on time all over the world?  Judge sin fairly?  What must be done, no matter what, by God’s self-imposition on Himself?

My Mom’s Graduation at 18 (before her blindness)

I submit that Jesus dying a horrible, painful, and bloody, flesh-ripped death was necessary for God because of one inescapable thing…God loved us.  And loved you personally, enough to become sin and be separated from His Father for the first time, take your judgment, one you deserved for your sin, all to get you back home, safe and sound. 

Sin has consequences…Death

He thought it necessary – essential, absolutely required, no other way to do it, the only way – because He loved you so very much, He’d even die just for you.  That means if you were the only person on the planet, He would have died for your sins.  Necessary?  Wow!  If I were God I’d have found another way, but apparently it was the only way possible.  His love for you made this the only way to save you.  Jesus said, “I am the way (John 14:6).”  Not a way, but the way.  The only way.  The necessary way to pay for sin.

Grateful, as the first one to share the gospel with me

The irony of this demand God put on Himself is what you choose to do with it.  You can ignore Him.  You don’t have to come home (repent) and acknowledge what He did for you with your reverence.  Stay outside and play football, as my friends did when my Mom called.  Necessary doesn’t apply to you.  Necessary only applies to Good Friday, when His love for you was His “necessary” because you mattered enough to die for.

The Necessary Explained

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