Friday, April 10, 2009

Good(?) Friday

El Greco: Crucifixion

Kevin McCullough:
For it certainly wasn't good when it occurred.

Jesus had been tried. He had been pronounced guilty of a series of crimes, even though he was innocent, and had never committed the smallest sin. In the atmosphere of the politically charged and stacked system he was in, the outcome of what he faced had been sealed.

By the end of Good Friday, he had been whipped until the flesh of his back looked like raw meat. He had been forced to drag a cross until he could carry it no more. He was wrongfully accused, criminally framed, and brutally punished--long before his tormented death that he would endure.

By the end of Good Friday his hands had been poked through with nails that punched the bone, muscle, blood and tissue together and then ripped it apart. The fire that must have been felt in the exposed nerves ran up his arm, to his brain and through the rest of his body.

By the end of Good Friday his feet too had been run through with stakes that sent shock waves through the rest of his body.

He had been crowned with thorns, and had them pushed down into the flesh of his head.

By the end of Good Friday his belly had been poked with the tip of the spear, and his water and blood came pouring out.

He suffered all this... because He had never known sin.

He had never partaken in illicit behavior, dishonest gain, or sexual revelry.

It was He the sinless one who was traumatized, brutalized, tortured, and executed for the sins and crimes that he did not commit. Not the most brutal men of history. Not Hitler, Stalin, Mugabe, Hussein, or Bin Ladin.

He was God's sole son. He was without sin. And he was killed by the end of Good Friday.

At the end of Good Friday, the grave is sealed. His disciples are in hiding. His followers are crushed and wondering how this could've happened.

The dishonest leaders of the city and of the empire thought themselves successful in having put away "for good" the one who exposed their wickedness in high places, and the evil and deception in their own hearts.

The wicked prospered on Good Friday, not the Godly, and when the grave was closed, and the sun went down, and the ones he had brought immense hope to tucked their kids in went to bed in fear.

Would a Roman guard accuse them of being "one of His?" Would a neighbor turn them in? Would a knock come in the middle of sleep and a garrison carry the family away?

Good Friday was the embodiment of the confession of sin, and the full picture of the complete amount of profane ugliness and death that it brought to the Lord Himself.

He who knew no sin, took our sin upon Him, and died with that burden scarred into his hands, side, and body.

His back was ripped to shreds because he took our place on Good Friday.

This is what we deserved, this is what we deserve now... and Good Friday if it should stand for anything, should stand for the reminder that we are no different than the mob who cheered his crucifixion.

Had we stood in that crowd that day, it is a forgone conclusion that we would have been part of the sneering mob, ushering him to eternal doom.

He who knew no sin, took ours on to Him, and became the sacrifice for us that each of us deserved.

Good Friday may be a day of celebration for you. But not for me. It is a day of conviction, meditation, remembrance, and sorrow.

Sorrow that a God who never had to, sent His only son, to suffer everything I have always deserved.

The realization of this is the beginning of gratitude. But on Good Friday there was nothing to be grateful of for sure. Only some vague promise that He might return.

On Good Friday, the only hope we had dared to believe in was dead. Evil had won, mockers had succeeded, traitors were enriched, and the enemy of everything good declared victory.

On Good Friday even God the Father turned his back.

It was the smell, not just of death, but of abandonment, hopelessness, emptiness, and defeat. It was all encompassing, it was suffocating.

On THAT Friday there was nothing good... ...nothing good for anyone.

On Good Friday hell rained down everything it could on Him, and fortunate for us, He was strong enough to take it!

Stronger than us He was... that's for sure!

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