Good Friday, No Thanks to Us…
“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.”
Good Friday has always been a difficult ‘Holiday’ to put words to since we are celebrating the crucifixion of God at our hands. Certainly the act can be rationalized and the responsibility abdicated but the truth is that our sin put Him on the cross and brutally executed the perfect Son of God. We also have the perspective of what happens a couple days later when we know He shows Himself to be who He said He was and resurrected from the dead. The challenge I try to think about every year though is that the pain He experienced was incredibly real, both physically and spiritually, far more than the collective consciousness of all of creation could even begin to comprehend.
The above passage is one of my favorites around the passion because the crowds realized what they had done but it was too late. Just moments earlier they were convinced of Jesus’ guilt and were committed to His brutal torture and execution but now they are in the process of grieving His loss. The setting is compelling not because it’s unique but because it isn’t. We are all in the same place as the crowds, we live our lives as though Christ’s death wasn’t necessary or on account of our sin and at the end of our life…we will ALL bow down to Him (Phil.2:19). Unfortunately just like it was too late for the people to change the outcome with Jesus earthly life, it will also be too late to alter our eternal destiny. The time for our decision is now, not for the immediate fringe benefits but for the ultimate reality of our reconciliation to a Holy God. It was too late for those onlookers at the cross but it’s not too late for you…not yet.
Sunday is a day that in the ministry world we see people we call CEO’s, which stands for people who come to church only on Christmas and Easter. Maybe you’re one of them and you think that your biannual attendance merits you eternal favor, it does not. I pray that this year is one where the resurrection and the implications of the Father’s sacrifice of the Son and the Son’s submission to the Father’s will in wrongful accusations, horrible torture and brutal execution will be much more than an opportunity for a family brunch, God help us…before it’s too late.