“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13, NIV
A Dark Day.
A Black Day.
A Forsaken Day.
… A Good Day in the making?
Good Friday. It’s strange, really strange to be honest. We know why it’s called Good Friday- that is because of the reality of Sunday.
But as we sit and think about this day, this day three days out from Sunday, its a nightmare in the making.
Unknown to His disciples, they just spent their last evening having supper with their Teacher, chosen King and Best Friend.
Think about it. Jesus had stepped into each one of their lives and changed it radically and astonishingly. They loved this man who had chosen them. And taught them. And served them. Continuously reminding them that they were to become the least- while loving them as if they were the greatest.
… Ever wonder what they did Wednesday, before Maundy Thursday? Many speculate that Jesus and his disciples spent the day just resting and relaxing in Bethany. They probably shared stories, laughed a bit and just talked as friends do.
You know, the things we do with our friends on those all too rare days of rest and relaxation. Being with Friends who we trust completely, whose presence feels like a vacation in itself.
I wonder if those last couple days played through the disciples minds as Jesus was dragged off and endured Good Friday.
Not heart wrenching enough?
“Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.”
“Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.” (Matthew 26:49-50, NIV)
One of those friends who laughed and broke bread with Jesus… betrayed him.
And one of the things which strikes me the most- Jesus words to Judas, particularly the last one. “Friend.”
He didn’t condemn Judas, he didn’t push him away.
He gave him permission.
A lot of things feel dark right now. But friends, Sunday is coming.
This too will pass.
As we face the dramatic changes to our lifestyles, our world- I pray that you would look toward Sunday. A whole world’s hope was wrapped up in a package of crude agony… and love.
That love persists today- and it will not fail to deliver, He has not surrendered the authority that was bought at such a high price. He has not forsaken His Friends- for who He would endure the cross again, and again and again.
I am excited for the days ahead, I want to jump into Sunday, I want to leap into a post pandemic world.
But I will not rush through Good Friday. I will stop and soak in the beautiful, costly, victorious truth.
Today we remember humanity’s darkest day, while living in a world that has been repeatedly marked by all that is good in humanity in the light of crisis.
Rarely have we loved better, today marking the day we were loved best- permanently.
Dearest Lord Jesus,
As I read through the story of your crucifixion, it is strange my reaction to the cross- Your cross.
I see it knowing in my mind the pain and humiliation it inflicted upon you,
I cringe inwardly,
I squint my eyes-
and yet my heart swells with a hope, a joy-
it cherishes that horrible cross.
Because beyond its rough and brutal intention- is Your love, Your Glory… My salvation.
Yes Lord, it is hard to look at that old rugged cross, yet I cannot look away.
It is painful for me to see, yet I do not look away.
Because what love- to be a witness and receiver of such love, a love greater than the worst hurt
It hurts to look- but I will choose to look… I will choose love too.
I love you Lord Jesus, I am so sorry for the cross and I am so thankful.
… I pray you choose to look as well friends. And remember not only did Jesus voluntarily walk to calvary- but as He did so, enduring all humiliation, pain and suffering- not for a moment- not a single one- did his heart turn on us.