Dear Church family,
Quickly, quickly, we come to Good Friday. And on that day we read that this happened:

“After mocking Jesus, the soldiers stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.” —Mark 15:20

I am reminded of this short portion of an amazing sermon Gardner Taylor preached on this several decades ago:

“We read that when the soldiers had tired of their ugly game of ridicule and making sport of the Son of God, they took off the old scarlet tunic and put his own clothes back on him. This was the final preparation for crucifixion. They put on our Lord his own clothes. And ‘his own clothes’ says worlds to us. We need to see him as he is, ‘in his own clothes,’ not mocked and ridiculed by false respect and pious hypocrisy. When we see the Lord ‘in his own clothes,’ in his true character and force, we see someone who makes us cry out for forgiveness and for his good favor and approval. Looking at Jesus as he is, we see ourselves as we are.

“When our Christ is not mocked by false garments of respectable sneer or false enthusiasm, when we see him in his own clothes as he is, we want to do better. Dr. Donald Shelby, the California United Methodist preacher, has told of a terrible storm on Lake Michigan in which a ship was wrecked near the shore. A Northwestern University student, Edmond Spenser, went into the raging water again and again and single-handedly rescued seventeen people. When friends carried him to his room, nearly exhausted and faint, he kept asking them ‘Did I do my best?’ In the presence of Christ we ask, ‘Lord, did I do my best?’ I am a preacher, and each time I preach I must ask, ‘Lord, did I do my best?’ Officer, choir member, usher, did you do your best?

“Jesus in his own clothes going to Calvary did his best.”

A good Friday to each of you. May we continue to look to Jesus, trusting his promises of new life, even in the valley of the shadow of death.