The Seven Steps of the Savior
Charles B. French
I wrote this reading for a Good Friday service. It follows the life of Jesus and ends with His arrest, crucifixion, and death.
I. The Suffering Servant Foretold
In the beginning, a Savior was needed. God told the prophet Isaiah. The Prophet told the world. The world waited. The Messiah would come.
He would walk the earth. He would love the unloved. He would heal the afflicted. He would bless the world.
But the world would reject Him. They would hate Him and cast Him out. They would see no beauty, no grace, no Messiah. Only a man they despise.
He would suffer at the hands of those he came to save. For our sake He would endure this torment. Our wounds would be His. Our suffering would be placed on His shoulders. Our punishment would be borne by this innocent man.
He would be silent as they led him to his death. He would not cry out. He would not defend himself. He would not refuse this path.
The Messiah would come.
II. Three Year Ministry
He called and they followed. He found them fishing, collecting taxes, and searching. He found the outcasts, the despised, the shunned. It was to them He gave His secrets. It was them He lifted up. It was through them He would change the world.
For three years He led them. Through the storms and across the sea, He led them. Through trials and troubles, He led them. Take nothing with you, He told them, for I am here. Fear nothing where you go, He assured them, for I am here. Love even your enemies He urged them, for I am here.
Crowds followed Him. The sick came for healing. The doubters came to question. Seekers came to learn. He gave of himself to meet their needs. Some accepted and followed. Others rejected and turned away. He loved them all.
He spoke the truth in love and in power. He challenged the self righteous and rebuked the hypocrites. He was a leader, a savior, the son of man, and a threat. His enemies gathered and plotted. He would be stopped.
III. The Last Supper
They didn’t know it was the end. They didn’t know the lesson they would learn. They didn’t know the gift He would give.
It began as a meal among disciples. Among brothers. Among friends. He wanted to teach them something about Himself, His role, and His mission. They needed to touch, taste, and remember.
The bread was His body. The wine was His blood. Their fellowship was His gift and command. “Do this together and remember me.”
One of their number would betray him. He knew this and loved him still.
IV. In the Garden
In His last moment of peace, He prayed: for himself, His disciples, and the world.
He asked the Father to remove the burden before Him. He knew what was to come. He knew of the betrayal, the torture, the death.
But in His love and obedience, He did not resist. He would not follow His wishes, but the Father’s.
He prayed for strength for the journey ahead. Blood dripped from His brow. He had asked His disciples to remember His blood. He prayed for them. He saw the generations to come. His blood was also for them. They too would remember. He prayed for them.
He found His disciples sleeping. They would not watch with Him. They would not keep the vigil. And they would not stand by His side when His enemies came for Him.
His disciple, friend, and betrayer met Him with a kiss. The guards took Him.
V. By His Stripes
They arrested Him, imprisoned Him, and called for His blood. His followers fled. One even denied Him. He was alone.
They brought Him before the powers and kings. The powers dismissed this man and His power and sought to release Him. The people still called for His blood. The powers relented.
Stripped naked before them, He was beaten and scourged. There was no mercy.
When they were finished, He was broken and bloody. They mocked him with a crown of thorns. The powers hoped it was enough.
But the mob was not appeased. They called for His death.
VI. The Cruelest Death
His hands reached out to heal. He touched the untouchable and washed away their afflictions. He lifted the lowly and carried their burden.
They nailed those hands to a cross, after making Him carry it Himself.
It was the cruelest death imaginable, one full of pain and humiliation. They hung Him with two thieves, as if He were the basest of criminals, to be killed and forgotten. He was put on display as an example to others.
Yet even in dying, He loved. He forgave a repentant thief, assuring this man that his faith would lead to Paradise. He looked to His mother, telling the disciple He loved to care for her. He looked to the Father, asking forgiveness for those who placed Him on the cross.
He could have come down. He could have saved himself. He could have ended it. But he remained on the cross.
VII. The Curtain Opens
He hung for six hours. He called to the Father. The Father turned away.
The Servant, the Savior, the Messiah, died. The sun hid its face. An earthquake shook the temple, tearing the curtain in two.
They took down His body: bloodied by the whip, pieced by nails and spear, and broken on the cross.
They prepared Him, wrapped Him and placed Him in a borrowed tomb.
It was finished.
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