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Good Friday


A crucifixion.

The events of Good Friday were filled with a kind of drama that we cannot fully comprehend. It was ugly. The worst of human nature spilled out into every street and every corner of the city. Jealousy and envy had blossomed into hate, and hate burned hot. All of life, nature, and the whole world collided with goodness, mercy, and love, and everything stood still.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:3

Despised and rejected.

The suffering he bore made him familiar with our own suffering and pain.

It was so hideous that we had to turn our faces away. This kind of suffering, we cannot truly grasp.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Did he see my face as he hung on the cross? As he was pierced through and his body hung crushed, were my sins and my failures and my pride and my transgressions on his mind? Was he thinking about me as he took his last breath?

When the angel visited Mary and gave her the exciting news that she would conceive a baby through the Holy Spirit who would be God’s Son…the Messiah…and to her question, “How can this be?”…the angel’s reply was, “Nothing is impossible for God.” I do believe that Jesus, the Son of God – God in the flesh – could see the face of every human life – past, present, and future – as he hung dying for the forgiveness of all mankind. Because nothing is impossible for God.

His punishment…the horror of his death…brought you and me the peace we long for and the healing of every wound. Forgiveness, grace, restoration, and completeness became ours through Christ’s brutal death.

The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Thank you, Jesus, for the cross on which you died…where you saw my face and you bore my sin.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth
. By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7-9

Innocent, he walked the path of death.

Jesus, sinless and pure, took the grave of the wicked for the redemption of the world.

And he did so in silence…without a cry of “not guilty”…without a word of self-justification.

So many misunderstand the necessity of this part of the Easter story. They would rather bask in the resurrection than pause and reflect on the gravitas of the cross. Were it not for this poignant moment of mourning, we could not truly rejoice in the victory three days later.

Death was not the finale of this story, but it cannot be brushed over. God allowed his Son to suffer…and his Son, Jesus, chose the way of suffering. God so loved the world that He gave…and Jesus so loved the world that He gave.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes
his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of lif
e and be satisfied;
by his knowle
dge, my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:10-12

He made intercession for the transgressors.

Those transgressors are you and me. Those transgressors are any human that has ever lived, is currently living, and will live in the future. Jesus made intercession for us all.

Because Christ poured out his life unto death, and because he continues to intercede on our behalf, we have hope…we have redemption.

Good Friday is not just another date on the calendar to fill with another service, another gathering, or another ritual to observe. No. It is a sobering moment to pause and reflect on the suffering of Christ on behalf of you and me.

I do believe that He saw my face and yours as he hung, dying, broken, abandoned, and alone.

And when he said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30), he was declaring the end of striving…the end of fear…the end of hopelessness…the end of shame, and the end of death. He took our iniquity and he bore our sin…once…for all…upon the cross.

Words do not suffice for the enormity of gratitude I feel. But with words, frail and broken…limited and simple…I say to Jesus from the depths of this sinful heart, “Thank you, Jesus.”

It seemed as if hell were put into His cup; He seized it, and at one tremendous draught of love, He drank damnation dry.”
Charles Spurgeon

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