Friday, April 22, 2011

What kind of Friday?

Over the last few days, my mind keeps coming back to the name that was given to today.  Good Friday.  I can't imagine that anyone witnessing the events of this day would have considered it good.  Can you imagine the appalled look that would have come across the faces of Jesus's friends and family members if someone said, "you know, one of these days, we'll all look back and call this a good day"?

Can you imagine how Peter must have felt, knowing that, in the hours leading up to this day, he had repeatedly denied the one he repeatedly said he loved?  Can you imagine Mary, the mother of Jesus, watching helplessly as her son hung beaten and bloodied on the cross?  Can you imagine Joseph and Jesus's brothers, likely physically strong men (being carpenters), holding themselves back, knowing there was nothing they would be able to do?  Can you imagine all those people Jesus had healed in the previous 3 years, wondering how the one who had done so much for them was now in this place?  Can you imagine the bewilderment in the mind of the boy who had given Jesus 3 loaves and 5 fishes and watched him feed over 5000 people with it?  Can you imagine the heavy hearts of those called "sinners" and "unclean" (and far worse names, I'm sure) as they watched the man who accepted them and cared for them just as they were?  Can you imagine the sheer terror in that day?  I simply cannot imagine that, truly, to anyone that the day would have seemed "good".

I think that even those responsible for Jesus's death, zealous religious leaders and Roman political leaders, could not have really felt good on that day.  They knew that Jesus was not a criminal worthy of death.  They knew that He had not done anything wrong.  They were afraid of Him, of what He represented, and of how He could upset the order of things in their lives, but they could not substantiate death on a cross.  I imagine that a number of these men...and those that physically beat and hung Jesus that day...maintained an outward appearance of superiority and confidence in the decisions that lead to this moment.  Yet, I imagine that on the inside, many, if not all of these men, felt a sense of disgust, horror, and shame at the thought of what they had just done.  Like so many awkward villains portrayed in movies and television that know the error of their ways, but cannot seem to break out of the wrong doing that holds them captive.  Like Judas, the betrayer, I imagine others struggled with their own self worth and value after this "good" Friday.

Even Jesus on the cross, despite being fully God and fully man, likely, in that moment, would not have called anything about that day good.  He carried the weight of the world's sin on His shoulders as He hung in indescribable pain.  His lungs bared the weight of his unsupported body, held up only by the nails that held Him in place.  The physical pain perhaps paled in comparison to the emotional pain of it all.  He called out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!" revealing scripture / prophecy about himself (Psalm 22), but also in His agony and in His momentary separation from the Father.  Even the earth, bringing forth an earthquake, cried out in anguish.  The weight of the day was so far from good.

And yet, today.  Today, we know the amazing truth of the story that was unfolding on that horribly awful day.  Today, we know what happened three days later.  Today, we are aware that death on the cross, as wretched as it was, was a necessary part of a beautifully good plan.  Today, we can celebrate the fact that Jesus died so that we might live.  Jesus took the weight of our sin so that we would have forgiveness.   Today, we can look back and know that in an oxymoronic sort of way, it was indeed, a very good Friday.

A few days ago, my brilliant and handsome husband reflected on the goodness of today in his blog.  So, rather than going on and on myself, I will steal borrow his words to end this reflection.

A Very Good Friday (from

Jesus came for the sick.
Jesus seeks after the lost.
Jesus searches for runaways.
Jesus finds the hidden.
Jesus heals the broken.
Jesus gives footing to the lame.
Jesus opens the closed ears of the deaf.
Jesus restores sight to the blind.
Jesus frees the prisoner.
Jesus has coffee with the prostitute.
Jesus loves the sinner.
Jesus forgives the repentant.
Jesus strengthens the weak.
Jesus fills the empty.
Jesus dwells with the lonely.
Jesus comforts the mourner.
Jesus weeps with the sad, the hurting, the grieved.
Jesus breathes into the lifeless.
Jesus lifts up the trampled.
Jesus gathers the displaced.
Jesus feeds the hungry.
Jesus quenches the thirsty.
Jesus puts the last at the front.
Jesus eats with the unsanitary.
Jesus dines with the despised.
Jesus carries our burdens.
Jesus dies for his enemies.
Jesus bleeds for his friends.
Jesus stretches out his arms for us.
By the way, I posted this within less than a day of my last post.  So, if you didn't read that one yet, feel free to check that one out as well by clicking here.  And, as always, thank you for reading and feel free to add your thoughts or comments below. 

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