It’s Good Friday, the day the church marks the crucifixion of Jesus. Among people, there are various reactions to this reality.
Some turn their faces away because they can’t face the gory nature of death by crucifixion. It was the most heinous way to kill someone in the first century, because the person who hung on the cross was dying not from blood loss, but from asphyxiation. Often, it took a long time for someone to die that way, and the suffering was unspeakable.
Others run away because they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a loving God would sentence his own Son to die so gruesomely through no fault of his own. Some have this notion that Jesus’ death was a form of “divine child abuse”. Since they can’t fit that into their theology, they stay home.
Still others stand and mourn because this is a memorial service for a good man who got caught in a political revolution. Yet if Jesus were merely a ‘good man’, his death was in vain, because only a perfect sacrifice would atone for human sin. There would be no sense building a movement around a good man who died.
Still others, again, stand and behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, words John the Baptist proclaimed when he announced the coming of Jesus early in the gospels. Yet we stand at the foot of the cross not as those unable to look, not as those who can’t fit death into our theology, not as those who remember a good man. We stand at the foot of the cross as those who live in hope, because we know that on the third day, Jesus conquered death by rising from the grave.
Good Friday should be a sombre day, but it should be a day of anticipation, too, for we know how the story ends.
Still, the resurrection cannot be truly appreciated unless we have walked with Jesus through the valley of the shadow of death. Make sure you go to worship today so you can appreciate the joy of Sunday!
“Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18.31-33, NLT).