GOOD FRIDAY: CROWNED OR CRUCIFIED?

His Name is not Henry! – His Name is not Henry! His Name is Jesus!

Story told by Dr. Larry Lea

– He ran around the psychiatric ward of a hospital, depressed and bewildered with a collection of crucifixes in his hand gazing at the Latin inscription INRI, with the sisters close at heels – his muttering was amplified for all to hear; “His Name is not Henry His Name is Jesus.” – He fell on his knees weeping saying Jesus! Jesus! Merciful Jesus! over and over again.

Several days later he heard an inner voice speak to his spirit – “Now you are My son you will take this message to this generation You will be My mouth and My minister – then the voice said get up and go home.” – He says Jesus came through the locked doors and barred windows walked right into his heart placed a call upon his life to serve his generation.

This is the testimony of Dr. Larry Lea, mega-church founder – author of the book, “Could You Not Tarry One Hour” – the Book that changed the prayer life of multitudes and my life as well resulting in the printing of my first book, “Prayer Mantle.”

How true! – He who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved, healed, delivered!

INRI – Jesus Of Nazareth King Of the Jews – Hail King Of the Jews!

In the cold, black night of Christ’s betrayal, His disciples could not tarry one hour with Him in prayer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, while Jesus earnestly prayed in such agony of spirit that His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground, His disciples, oblivious of the eternity-shaping events about to transpire, slept. Jesus, heavy and sorrowful in spirit, awakened His sleeping disciples and asked:

‘Could ye not watch with me one hour?’

Jesus was flogged, spat upon, insulted; The soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee and mocked him, saying ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’

Though Jesus was sinless He was led to His crucifixion – nailed to the cross after he had been condemned to death. Through His crown of thorns, Jesus removed from our foreheads, the curse and badge of sin, and brought us blessings of God.

Jesus was assassinated! We call it Good Friday because of the good results.

Dying, He destroyed our death, and rising He restored our life.

And here is another so-called king that so many are talking about globally, Corona-Virus – Corona means crown in Greek and Latin. They mocked Jesus with a Crown of Thorns in the sight of people, He was crucified, died on the cross, was buried and rose again. A crown of global-mockery just before the return of Jesus, the King of Glory.

This virus shall never be crowned with its false crown and false robe – as the world unites in its expulsion.  And there shall be an exit of this virus soon as the people continue to intercede, thank, praise and worship the living God – the strategy of God!

Panic-driven, fearmongering, pandemic pandemonium of massacre, distancing, lockdowns, indescribable suffering. We know that governments of the world, doctors, nurses, hospitals, police-force and others in positions of responsibility and authority are doing their best to combat and eradicate this dreadful virus. This is a wake-up call to pray and praise – stand in the gap – a historical repeat of the sleeping disciples!

Mirrored in this tragic scene is the plight of the church today. Jesus, our Intercessor High Priest, is praying; His disciples are sleeping; It would be difficult to list failures, defeats, broken relationships, broken homes, tragedies and now this virus that could have been averted if believers prayed. However it is not too late!

2 Chronicles 7: 14: If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – It would be impossible to measure the destruction that could have been turned and the judgment averted if only God’s people took time to pray – God’s people are responsible!

But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! In these days there is a return of many of God’s people, backslidden as well, unbelievers, the world at large crying out for God’s help against this pandemic with its aura of horror, deaths and global- suffering. Will He not hear? –Yes He the God who answers prayer!

Church of the living God cheer up! We shall rise triumphantly!

Isaiah 62: 3-4. “You will also be a crown of beauty in Yahweh’s hand and a royal diadem in your God’s hand. You will not be called forsaken anymore, nor will your land be called desolate anymore…”

I am reminded of a beautiful song extolling the Lord:

Father in heaven how we love you; We lift your name in all the earth; May your kingdom be established in our praises; As your people declare your mighty works.

Blessed be the Lord, God Almighty; Who was and is and is to come; Blessed be the Lord, God Almighty; Who reigns forever more

A Word to the Church – Many attend Lenten services; see movies on Good Friday like ‘Passion of Christ’ dealing with His sufferings. That is fine but not good enough. It will do us good when we meditate on His suffering and imitate him. Then we become like Him in His death.; – He was silent Isaiah 53: 7; Matthew 27: 12-13. Many are quick to retaliate, hit back or take revenge at the right moment.

Philippians 3:10-11. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

Paul spoke of two interconnects: “Resurrection Power & Suffering.”

Resurrection powermakes dead situations alive

Sufferingis the key to release that power.

Paul wanted to become like Jesus in his death.

Now we may have suffered but do we look like Christ in His suffering?

Do others see it?  – If we “become like Him” in His suffering, we will become like Him in His resurrection power.

“Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.”

“Pastor it is so hard to forgive! – God’s love nature in a born-again helps forgive!

“Pastor, people are not sorry for what they did to me.”

Jesus forgave without waiting for others to repent.

He forgave the Sanhedrin, Scribes, Pharisees, Pilate – He forgave all.

He didn’t tell the crowd to repent for yelling ‘Crucify him’ then He would forgive them.

He didn’t tell the soldiers to repent and change their lives then He would forgive.

Forgiveness has the quality of love as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love does not demand its own way,

Love does not hold grudges;

Love is not irritable or touchy

Love hardly notices when others do it wrong;

We have all missed it!

If we are bitter, unforgiving, can we say we’re suffering with Christ living a resurrected life?

 Simon Carried the Cross.”

Jesus was humble He allowed Simon to carry his cross.

You hear of addicts often turning away from help:

“Leave me alone, I can stop when I want to.”

We need “Simons” to help us.


The Women wept for Jesus

He said to them “Do not weep for me.”

Many try tears;

Many suffer with self-pity to be noticed. Self-pity is pride. It blocks God’s help or grace.

“Can’t people see what I am going through?” – They want applause for suffering endured.

That was not how Christ suffered – He had no self-pity. He was humble so should we!

Repentance and Confession of sins are seldom spoken of;

We need to return to this Truth. God demands both.

We know of sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 – those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to expose areas of sin in us and then repent!

Richard Lovelace – “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.”

Many are enclosed in their self-made prisons – Jesus set them free but they like to remain within with prison doors open – Jesus had to die this shameful death to be our perfect substitute in all areas of life

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross;
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best;
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross; Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross; And exchange it someday for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world;  Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above; To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine; A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died; To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true; Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away; Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Please read Isaiah 53.

There may be someone reading this message who has never been able to connect with God and wants to, here are three simple steps to God:

God loves you and He wants you to be His child John 3: 16; John 1: 12

God sent His One and Only Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. He lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and rose from the dead.

He offers you the gift to live with Him forever in heaven.

If you believe this with your heart you can take the third step – accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord Romans 5: 8; John 14: 6

Say this prayer aloud:

Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. You died on the cross for my sins. And rose again from the dead. I repent and turn away from my sinful life and turn to you

Lord Jesus Christ come into my heart, I make you my Saviour and Lord.

Thank you for saving me, forgiving me and giving me eternal life.

Almighty God I thank you for making me your child. I will serve you all the days of my life.

God Bess You All.