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Why is Friday so Good?

The origin of the term Good Friday is not clear if you check a couple of search engines. The “good” derives from German Gottes Freitag or Gute Freitag. While some believe this refers to God’s Friday, others disagree. Anglo Saxons coined the phrase “Long Friday,” as the Bible suggests Jesus stayed up all night without sleeping prior to his crucifixion.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn,” Zechariah 12:10.

In all my years as a Christian, I have only attended one Good Friday service as a senior in college. The service was based upon the passage above, a somber message exclaiming that our spiritual leader is dead. Pastor Paul commented that “I guess we can still get together from time to time, but our Savior is gone.” There are a few verses that suggest the remaining disciples went into hiding, afraid that they too may be arrested and crucified. Thus, Good Friday seems like an oxymoron as all spiritual hope died with Jesus.

For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death]. 54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, “Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever), 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.

To comprehend the meaning of Good Friday, you have to scan Old Testament prophecies beginning in Genesis 3:15. As a famous pastor once stated, “Jesus died on Friday, but Sunday is a coming.” While the joy for life was sucked out of Jesus’ followers during a 48 hour period, a resurrection ignited a movement which has survived for nearly 2000 years. Thus, this Friday is deemed good as Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. Easter Sunday is great as death was swallowed up in victory the moment Jesus rose from the grave. That is why this day is known as Good Friday.

by Jay Mankus

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Dear Agony

Passion Week celebrates the last week of Jesus’ life as a human being. Today, churches will have Maundy Thursday services recounting the last supper. Bible verses will be read, a betrayal will be revealed and a new covenant introduced now known as Holy Communion. Yet, during a 24 hour period, Jesus endured agony that few have ever experienced.

Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart, Hebrews 12:3.

This series of events began when a disciple, Judas Iscariot, agreed to a bribe in exchange for handing Jesus over to the authorities. False witnesses attempted to smear Jesus’ reputation, soldiers punched Jesus in the face and flogged him, ripping most of the skin off his body. When this torture was completed, Jesus was mocked, ridiculed and had a four inch thick crown of thorns driven into his skull. Then, the long walk to Golgotha began.

You have not yet struggled to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; Hebrews 12:4.

The author of Hebrews addresses the topic of agony in the passages above. If you are having a bad day, rough week or undergoing extreme circumstances, a question is asked. Are you on the verge of death, hanging from a cross? If not, consider him, Jesus, who shed his blood as the perfect lamb of God. The agony Jesus endured was a payment for sin, to save the world, John 3:16-17. Therefore, if you are overcome by the pain of agony, hang in there by casting your concerns up to God in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Lying to Your Face

Moral relativism refers to several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. The opposite of moral relativism is moral absolutism, which espouses a fundamental, Natural Law of constant values and rules, which judges all persons equally, irrespective of individual circumstances or cultural differences. When truth becomes relative, members of the media can exchange truth with their own opinions. If news is presented without an emphasis on fact checking, the person on the other end of the television is likely lying to your face.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight, Proverbs 12:22.

Whether you know it or not, everyone possesses a set of pet peeves. This term was first referenced in 1919. The origin of this expression dates back to a 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered.”
A pet peeve is a particular thing that annoys, bugs or irritates you every time an individual does, repeats or says something. One of my recent pet peeves is the degree of lying that occurs every day on television. One political side takes position A, the other takes the opposing view. Both can’t be correct as one group is lying to your face day after day without identifying who is on the side of the truth.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish, Proverbs 19:9.

From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, 1 Kings 3:12. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes to one of his numerous sons, urging his children to do what is right. To highlight the danger of lying, Solomon compares this act as an abomination to God. Later on in this book, the king details the punishment for false witnesses, those willing to twist the truth in their own favor. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if cable news shows continue to allow guest panelists to lie time after time, truth, justice and the American way will fade away forever like mighty empires of the past. Pray for truth to prevail.

by Jay Mankus

A Consequence for Failing to Listen

For three years, Jesus poured his heart, soul and mind into twelve men. Whether eating, drinking, lodging or traveling together, Jesus trained these disciples on what it means to be a Christian. While the phrase “let him who have ears listen” is not widely recorded in the New Testament, this expression was likely repeated daily. Like the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when Jesus talks everyone should listen.

And other seed fell into good soil, and as the plants grew and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times [as much as had been sown].” And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words,” Mark 4:8-9.

Unfortunately, busyness, distractions and timing influence your degree of listening. When I’m tense, tired or interruptions occur, my mind wanders. Thus, even when motivational speakers convict, encourage or inspire you to act, listening is a two step process. First, you must clearly hear what has been instructed. Second, heeding the words of Jesus requires a special attention to details, noticing the big picture. Without these two elements working together, the good news about Jesus Christ falls upon deaf ears.

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your countrymen; you shall listen to Him and obey everything He tells you. 23 And it will be that every person that does not listen to and heed that Prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people,’ Acts 3:22-23.

During a sermon given by Peter, a passage from the Old Testament is quoted. Peter is trying to connect with his mainly Jewish audience by revealing a prophecy made by Moses. Without beating around the bush, Peter uses a message of fear to get the attention of this crowd. In this day of political correctness, suggesting that heaven isn’t for everyone results in outrage and persecution. Yet, Peter states that not hearing and taking heed of Jesus’ teaching will result in spiritual destruction. May this warning prompt hearts to develop a keen sense of listening.

by Jay Mankus

Can’t Stop Thinking About It

Mind-wandering is referred to today as task-unrelated thought. Depending upon the situation, you might experience thoughts not remaining on a single topic for a long period of time. This state of mind is allowed to continue when people are not engaged in an attention-demanding task.
Once individuals are less bogged down by the pressure of day to day life, minds can begin to narrow in on what’s important.

But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves, 16 saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.” 18 So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority]., Acts 4:15-18.

Following the day of Pentecost, miracles once performed by Jesus began to occur by his followers. After a man lame from birth was deemed healed after showing himself to a priest, John and Peter was brought in for questioning. A group of ruling men known as the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court, were concerned that Jews were getting caught up in a new Jesus Movement. Evidently, people couldn’t stop thinking about miracles performed under the authority of Jesus Christ.

But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves]; 20 for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:19-20.

Thus, the Sanhedrin tried to stop this spiritual movement from spreading any further. This suggestion presented John and Peter with a moral dilemma. Should we give into this peer pressure to become politically correct or should we obey God? These former disciples of Jesus chose the latter, risking imprisonment to stand up for their beliefs and convictions. If there is one thing you shouldn’t stop thinking about, it’s Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Falling Apart

If you have ever played golf or watched a high school match, you understand the expression falling apart. After coaching for a decade, there is nothing worse than observing a teenager lose their confidence. Since there is no coaching during a hole, all you can do is encourage, pray and uplift players on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit, Psalm 34:18.

As a parent of a freshman and junior, I spend two days a week each spring following both of my kids. Today, a series of showers turned a warm overcast day into a fight for survival. When my daughter had a bad hole I switched over to watch my son who had his worst round of the season. Perhaps, I was the bad luck charm as wherever I went players kept falling apart.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, Psalm 147:3.

The Psalmist provides a message of hope for anyone on the verge of falling apart. David reflects upon a time in his life where his heart was broken and spirit crushed. When David pretended to be insane before Abimelech, he hit rock bottom, ashamed of his current state of mind. Yet, by the grace of God, the Lord brought David through this difficult time. The same applies today for anyone who falls apart. Thus, in future moments of despair, cry out to Jesus who promises healing and restoration to the brokenhearted.

by Jay Mankus

No One Can Deny It

While they were on their way, some of the [Roman] guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 And when the chief priests had gathered with the elders and had consulted together [to develop a plan of deception], they gave a sufficient sum of money [as a bribe] to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You say this, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ 14 And if the governor (Pilate) hears about it, we will calm him down and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money [they were paid for lying] and did as they were instructed; and this [fabricated] story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to the present day, Matthew 28:11-15.

Since being elected president in 2016, Donald Trump has eluded to a deep state. Initially, this accusation was nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Yet, as details has been uncovered, this group is a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy. Whether more information comes out or not, a similar organization existed during the first century. Roman soldiers conspired with the acting governor to come up with a fabricated story claiming Jesus’ disciples stole and hid his dead body.

Saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it, Acts 4:16.

According to Matthew, this plot was successful as the lie was told over and over again, a growing number of people believed Jesus’ resurrection has a great hoax. As eye witnesses of the resurrected Jesus passed away, history was altered. Despite these rumors, the day of Pentecost enabled disciples to perform miracles just like Jesus. When the validity of these healings were examined by priests, members of the Sanhedrin could not deny the fact that extraordinary miracles had taken place. Fearful that first century apostles might expose their bribe, this religious deep state attempted to silence Peter and John.

Then he said to the Council, “Men of Israel, be careful in regard to what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody [of importance], and a group of about four hundred men allied themselves with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas the Galilean rose up, [and led an uprising] during the time of the census, and drew people after him; he was also killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men [merely human in origin], it will fail and be destroyed; 39 but if it is of God [and it appears that it is], you will not be able to stop them; or else you may even be found fighting against God!” – Acts 5:35-39

During the next session of the Sanhedrin, a godly man named Gamaliel addressed this council. Gamaliel refers to a previous uprising led by a man named Theudas. When this man was killed, his movement slowly died out. Now that Jesus is no longer with us, only time will tell what will happened. If this movement is of God, there is nothing that you can do to stop it. Nearly two thousand years later, no one can deny that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. Although churches may come and go, the Holy Spirit is alive and well living inside the temple, bodies, of those who now believe.

by Jay Mankus

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