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Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?


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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today, I want to trade the headline news for the Good News. Today is Maundy Thursday and tomorrow we celebrate Good Friday. Harry, I can remember as a child going to Good Friday services around the Easter celebration and I always thought to myself, “Why in the world do they call it Good Friday?” I can remember watching the movie, “The Robe,” with Victor Mature many decades ago and thinking, “What a terrible tragedy this is. Why would they call it Good Friday?”

DR. REEDER: Maybe I can put it this way: The death of Christ is tragic, but not a tragedy. It is tragic in the sense of all of the issues of one completely innocent being put to death in an unjust verdict and yet it is not a tragedy because the sovereign Godhead ordained all of this to provide an atoning death on behalf of sinners whereby we can be saved.

Tom, let’s back up. I love the way you started this program. Let’s change the headline news for Good News and headline news, many times, is very little good about it but this is good news and it is glorious news.

There are two weeks revealed to us in the Word of God that are of significant, premier and paramount importance. One is the week in which God the Creator has revealed His glorious work to create the heavens and the earth and humanity, male and female in His image. And then you also find, in that week, the fall of humanity into sin.

And then, gloriously, the God of creation is a God of redemption and He has provided a way of salvation. And the focal point of that redeeming work is what His Son, come in the flesh, has done for His people on what we call “The Week of Passion.”

GOSPEL OF JOHN EXPLAINS HOW CHRIST’S LIFE LED TO CRUCIFIXION

I love to study the Gospel of John because it focuses on the life of Jesus in a very significant way and John gives you a lot of background information that the other gospels do not give you. John focuses on the glorious ministry of Christ in his 33-year incarnate life here on the earth and then, the last three years of that life, John brings significant focus. Beginning in John 1 through John 3, he looks at the first week of Jesus’ public ministry that begins with His baptism and then he gives a series of evangelistic encounters in Chapters 3 all the way to Chapter 11.

And then, from Chapter 11 all the way through to Chapter 21, he focuses on the last week of the events and the life of Jesus where Jesus relentlessly moves to that cross to provide an atoning death and gloriously comes from the tomb, announcing the victory that He has secured over sin, and over death, and over Hell, and over Satan and over the grave.

Now, why do we call it Good Friday? Because, on that day, sinners who are helpless and hopeless in what seems to be a tragic event — in that moment of that atoning death of Christ — God has done something that we could not do. He gave us a life in His Son, Jesus, that we had to live but could not live, a life of perfect righteousness that clothes us with the righteousness to take us to Heaven.

WHAT EXACTLY DID CHRIST DO ON THE CROSS FOR US?

And, at the cross, Jesus, stripped of His righteousness, then has the sins of all of His people for all of eternity poured out upon Him and then the wrath of God relentlessly is poured out upon Him as He drinks the cup of our judgement to the last drop, declaring, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”– ”My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And there, all of the hell due to all of His people for all of eternity, in that cry of dereliction, we see Him descending into hell and hell descending upon Him in the cross.

Then comes that next glorious word, “Tetelestai,” — “It is finished.” And that’s why it’s good. It is tragic, but not a tragedy, for in that moment, Jesus is not dying a martyr’s death and Jesus is not simply dying a model death, but Jesus is dying an atoning death. There is the crux or the cross or the crucial — all of those words come from the Latin word “cross” because there is the moment of history.

Here is the greatest week in all of history and here is the greatest day in all of history. And here, as Jesus said, Himself, is the greatest hour: “My hour has come.” “I was born for this: to go to the cross.” And, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For God demonstrates His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Well, then He goes to the tomb and He is buried in the tomb and the glorious truth of His resurrection on the Lord’s Day. In fulfillment of Scripture, on the third day, He rises from the dead and, in that, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ.

WHY DID CHRIST CHOOSE TO TAKE OUR SUFFERING INSTEAD OF US DOING IT OURSELVES?

If you can think of it this way, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ. If you can think of it this way, many people can go and claim that they’re dying a sacrificial death, but it does not provide an atonement. Why? Because they need their own savior. Jesus did not need a savior — He was perfectly innocent.

However, Jesus not only died for us perfectly innocent, He died in our place specifically so that our sins would be paid for and God’s announcement to us that, not only was Christ innocent and could take our sins, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. His righteousness and glorious righteousness stripped from Him, our sins put on Him and now, having paid for our sins, His righteousness descends upon us so that the gates of Hell have been shut with His atoning death and the gates of Heaven are open because we have the righteousness of Christ to bring us to glory.

And God’s announcement of that is the resurrection: because He lives, I know His atoning death paid for my sins. As the Scripture says, “He has seen the travail of His soul and is satisfied.” Why did he see it? He’s raised. And why was he raised? Because of the satisfactory atonement of Christ for our sins.

JESUS’ RESURRECTION WAS JUST THE BEGINNING OF GRACE AND EVANGELISM

I love the way it states it in the Gospel of John as the disciples come wondering who’s going to take the stone away — it was the women who were the last at the cross and the women who were the first at the tomb — and they get there and He is not there. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” We find Mary Magdalen coming and sitting there weeping and the voice of Jesus, when He calls her name, “Mary.” And she says, “Rabboni,” the term of endearment that she would have called Him as her redeemer and teacher.

We find John giving us the information she thought he was a gardener — well, that’s interesting, isn’t it, Tom? The first Adam was what? A gardener. What was the second Adam? Supposed to be a gardener, but He’s not a gardener — He is the Gardener. The first gardener was supposed to have developed the garden and fill the earth. The second Gardener has got another Garden and He’s going to fill the earth as the Kingdom of God.

And then we find the first evangelist as Mary Magdalen goes back to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Savior and He is risen.” And then is released the glorious movement of the power of the Gospel throughout the whole world.

THE GOOD NEWS STRETCHES FROM OUR LIFETIME INTO ETERNITY

Tom, isn’t it glorious, as you began this program, we are taking a break from the headline news to the Good News? Well, actually, it’s the Good News that alone will change the headline news. And the biggest headline news I would love for all of our listeners to know: you have been saved and you can only be saved through Jesus. And you can only be saved through Jesus when you come to Him by faith and repentance — there is no other way. The answer to your life is not found in the news of the world, but the answer to your life and my life is the news that has come from Heaven that Jesus saves.

Hallelujah. What a friend for sinners. Now that gives us a world and life view whereby we understand the news of the day but, more importantly, it gives us the instrument that changes the news of every day — first, by changing you and me.

Come to Christ. Good news: what seems to be a tragic death is no tragedy. It is the work of redemption to save sinners from their sins. It is the victory of God’s grace over our sin and, where our sin abounds, the Good News is God’s grace more than abounds in Jesus Christ. Amazing grace. Come to Jesus and be saved by grace through faith alone and Christ alone and then enjoy that Savior for now and for all eternity.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

7 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

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First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

7 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

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That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

8 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

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“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

9 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

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According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

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To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.