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‘God’ Friday & the Mystery of the Second Man

One of the biggest family holidays of the year is coming up this next weekend. It is a long weekend with a purpose.

Our Easter holidays start on Good Friday (originally known as God Friday), going through Saturday to Easter Sunday with an extra Monday thrown in for good measure. Yes, we will all have our fill of Easter eggs and family fun, but there is a wonderful lesson to learn. The Easter story is all about a man who put himself second so that others could come first. Even the bible talks about Jesus being the second  Adam.

You see, a man who always puts himself second to someone greater than himself will always put his children and family first. In contrast the man who puts himself first will always put his children and family second. Let me explain!

First, we have to go back to how our Easter holidays began. Australia’s two biggest public holidays are Christmas and Easter. One is all about the birth of Christ while the second is about the death and resurrection of Christ, hence the tradition of egg rolling symbolising the stone being rolled away from the tomb of the risen Christ.

The story of, and the love of Jesus Christ for a broken hurting humanity, is embedded in our culture more than we can even begin to understand. Before I explain any further, let’s see what some well known people have said about Jesus Christ:

  • I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man… Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him. Napoleon.
  • I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. – Albert Einstein.
  • I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very centre of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.H.G. Wells.

Albert Einstein and his friends are not alone. ListVerse did an analysis of the top ten most influential people of history based on online searches and the amount of books written about them. Guess who was Number One? Jesus Christ, with 40% of all the books that have ever been published in one way or another being about Jesus Christ.

Australia has had a very personal encounter with Jesus Christ as the great majority of our early explorers were men who were inspired by their faith. Captain James Cook, our first well known English explorer had a profound belief in God and showed great kindness to the indigenous people of this land.

Matthew Flinders, the first man to circumnavigate and name Australia in 1803 also had a profound faith in Jesus Christ; as did Charles Sturt, Edward Eyre, Ludwig Leichhardt Governor Macquarie and John McDonnell Stuart, to name a few.

Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second Prime Minister had a deep faith and was delighted when the Constitutional Convention carried the Preamble inclusion in the Australian Constitution, “Humbly relying on the blessings of Almighty God”. Interestingly, out of the top 25 Australian Charities, 23 are faith based and come out of a love for Jesus Christ. Whilst Dads4Kids is a very small charity, we are also in that group.

But why is the world so taken with Jesus Christ? Perhaps this synopsis from James C. Hefley will explain:

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where He was born.

He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His Divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a Cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was His coat.

When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life—He rises from the dead. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the Centrepiece of the human race and the Leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.

But why did Jesus Christ have so much impact on our world? The simple answer is that out of love He sacrificed himself to put himself second. Mahatma Gandhi gave a beautiful insight when he said, talking about Jesus Christ, “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the word. It was a perfect act”. J.B. Phillips , in talking about how men respond to this amazing act of love said, “but let a man once see his God down in the arena as a man – suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonised, finally dying a criminals death – and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched”.

Lecrae, Grammy Award winning American rap artist, in a song called ‘Just Like You’ tells the story of growing up without a dad and the desperate need for male role models. In this song he says, “All men were created to lead but we need somebody to lead us”. If you are looking for that someone, you can’t go past the one who gave us our Easter Family Holidays. Make sure you thank Him for Christmas too.

Lovework

Many times our family looks to us for leadership and wisdom. It is always good to be able to look up and ask for leadership and wisdom, knowing you are second and He is first. When you put Him first it means that your family can always come first too. As the little boy said when praying for his dad as recounted by Rob Parsons in The Sixty Minute Father, “Dear Lord, please help my dad to be brave and not make too many mistakes”. Even our children know we need God’s help to be the father we need to be. It sure makes the difference when you can appreciate your children’s prayers.

Yours for  Becoming the Second Man

Warwick Marsh

PS. Go to All You Need is Love to see how we are going with the online ‘Marriage Kit’ Course, Module 4, with only one week to go.

The good news is that you can sign up to do the first module of The Marriage Kit for free.

If you want to continue, it will cost $200 but that is far better than spending $50,000 on divorce lawyers. Marriage education is a great investment in more ways than one.

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