Brethren, today we commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We appreciate the Almighty God for the special grace upon us as a nation and His love over each and every one of us to see another Good Friday.
On the Good Friday our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd fought against the wild beast which threatened to destroy His flock. In the fight, it seemed He died on the cross and was buried in the tomb. His enemies must have rubbed hands together in satisfaction because the disturber of their conscience were at last silenced.
Why did Jesus love to die? This incredibly important question involves a matter central to Christianity. It is also important to understand that Jesus clearly understood His mission on earth and that it involved laying down His life as a sacrifice. He proves His fore knowledge and understanding of His death in these passages from scripture – Mark 10: 38, Mark 10: 43- 45 and John 10: 17- 18. Jesus freely gave up His life. It truly does not matter who killed Jesus. The ones who nailed the nails only helped carry out the destiny He came to fulfil by laying down His life on the cross.
Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That is why Good Friday is so dark and so good. The church has always understood that the day commemorated on Good Friday was anything but happy, sadness, mourning, fasting and prayer have been its focus since the early centuries of the church. Despite its sadness, Good Friday is truly good, its sorrow is godly sorrow. It is like the sadness of the Corinthians who wept over the sharp letter from their dear teacher, Paul, convicted of the sin in their midst, Paul said “ My joy was greater than ever, why? Because such godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” 2 Corinthians 7: 10.
The significance of the agony of Jesus Crucifixion lies not in emotional experience of those that were involved, but in what God accomplished through His son’s death. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow and shedding of blood at the cross, God could not be both “Just and justifier” of those who trust in Jesus. – Romans 3: 26.
The cross did even more than procure salvation. It forged a new unity between Jew and Gentiles breaking down “The dividing wall of hostility” and “Made the two one” – Ephesians 2: 14 – 15 thereby producing peace by creating a new access to the father. In addition the cross disarmed the demonic powers and forged the final triumph over Satan and his hordes forcing those spiritual to follow his train in a victory procession.
The crucifixion produced the dynamics and Jesus’ sacrifice empowers us to re-orientate our lives toward selfless living, giving, loving, caring and serving, instead self-dominance or self-protection. Christ calls us to follow Him by dying to ourselves, to give up our lives so that we might find them in relation with Him. – John 12: 25 – 26.
Beloved Children of God, Good Friday teaches us to jettison all forms of abuses like corruption, kidnapping, rape, violence and all forms of decay in our system that have put the nation where we are today. It is of paramount importance to call on the citizens of this great country in the Spirit of the season to imbibe the true Spirit of Nation building, which is characterised by sacrificial living as against the cankerworm of greed and grabbling which has eaten into the fabric of our nation.
I hereby make a clarion call on our government on the infrastructure challenge. Despite the huge investment on roads in the past decade, the impact is not felt and the situation seems to be getting worse, with huge losses to life and property recorded every year. Despite the relative improvement in power supply in the immediate past, stable power supply which is very critical to a conducive investment climate is still elusive and a great cause of concern to the society. Government needs to explore all awareness to radically improve the supply and stability of infrastructure.
Government should increase its support for agriculture as a mechanism for jobs creation especially for the team population of our youths. Following the uncertainty in the oil market and the huge unemployment situation in the country. The government at various levels should put our fate in agriculture. I am glad that our young people are accepting agriculture instead of waiting for white-collar jobs. They are out there sweating it out in the sun making living.
All those in position of authorities in our land the need to trust and responsibilities to seek the common good instead of individual comfort and interest is essential. They should be sacrificial in their services to our great Nation. With the ultimate sacrifice Jesus has made for us, there is no sacrifice one can make to secure the future and the growth of generations unborn that will not be reckoned with time. Let us determine in our hearts to promote the ideals of transparency, honesty and have living faith in God to move our country forward.
I wish you all happy Good Friday.
The Most Rev. Dr. E. A. Ademowo OON, FNAL Ph.D.
Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus,
Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)