A very Good Friday

March 30, 2018

“The costliest of costs. The deadliest of loss, The wonder of the cross.

The breath of life that stops. The hope of heaven bought

The wonder of the cross. The wonder of the cross.

I don’t want to move.”

Good Friday has long been my favorite day of every year. I hope it doesn’t make me sound strange or morbid, but there is just such powerful emotion that surrounds this day. I remember as an adolescent, probably not more than 11 or 12 years old, attending a service where they re-enacted the passion of Jesus. The choir sat in the back of the church, and as we all looked on at the men portraying Jesus and Pilate in the front, they shockingly cried out “Crucify Him!” In that moment, I was surprised to hear familiar voices, ones I had heard sing His praises so many times, yell out for His demise. The more I think about it, it was more than just symbolism. How many times with our actions and our words, have we all sentenced Him to death?

Just a few years later, I remember being the last person sitting in the pews of the old church down the street after another Good Friday service. I wept. Bawled like a baby, under the thoughts of what we, and I in particular put Jesus through on that day. The loneliness. The pain. The ridicule. All because of MY sin. I’m not the first to say or realize it, but the old saying rang true and just plain wrecked me that night; “He would’ve done it just for me.”

There’s a line from the History Channel’s “The BIBLE” spoken by Pontious Pilate to his wife that I believe sums up the attitude and mindset of Jesus on this day. Looking down on Jesus as He is about to be scourged, Pilate sees the love and acceptance in Jesus’ eyes and says “it’s as if He knows this MUST happen.” There might never have been a truer statement.

From the beginning of Creation, from the moment God said “Let us make man in our image,” it must have been known that THIS day MUST happen. That blood must be spilled. That payment must be made. That death would have it’s day. Jesus has been planning for, and waiting for this day. The day when He would walk the streets that just 5 days ago welcomed Him as King, this time carrying the instrument of His death. The day when the weight of every sin that ever had or ever would be committed, would be placed on and paid for by His shoulders. The day when all hope would seem forever lost. This is that day. This is THE day.

And so, down a dirty and crowded street, now called “the way of suffering,” Jesus carries His cross toward the place of the skull. The Hill. Golgotha. The place where he would literally lay down, and give up His life, in an act of total servanthood and surrender. The nails are driven through His hands. A stake goes through His feet. And even as the cross is lowered into the ground, you can hear Him speaking out, still accomplishing His Father’s work.

“Mother, this is your son. Brother, this is your mother.”

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“Into your hands I commit my Spirit.”

“It. is. finished.”

The wonder of the cross – and I don’t want to move.

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