Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is the "Good" in Good Friday?

It's the darkest day of the year. To call this day "good" seems ultimately inappropriate at the surface. It is a day to remember the torture, beating, mocking and hanging of the only truly innocent man in history. 

The suffering of Jesus was intense. Severely brutal and excruciatingly painful. Let's not get to comfortable with what it meant to "be hung on a cross and die." Let us not be so familiar with the story that we go numb to its painful reality. To be whipped with pieces of glass and stone, to carry rough wood on a bleeding back, to have long thick thorns shoved into your scalp, to be stripped and spit on and punched. To be mocked and screamed at. To walk toward death, without objection. To willingly choose to suffer. And to die. 

No one would do that. 
Why did He?

For love. 

There is a deep chasm dividing a Holy, Perfect, Just God from people who are filled with selfish ambition, greed and hate. He cannot be OK with sin (things that fall short of perfection) and still be just. But the deep love God has for His children never ever changes, no matter how deeply they hurt Him or how far they run from Him. So to get His children back, God the Son offered to take the penalty the children deserved. He was perfect, yet willing to take the penalty for the sin we are guilty of. It is a love like no other. 

Maybe you're in a place of pain in your life. Where suffering is ever present and you wonder what the good in any of it could be, what God could possibly be doing to allow this pain in your life. Good Friday is the day Christ suffered greatly (though there was MUCH suffering through out His entire earthly life, being rejected by His family, harassed by the religious leadership, having attempts on His life, the sorrow of experiencing death and more). His was agony of not only the physical pain of torture, but the emotional pain of being abandoned and betrayed by his friends, being laughed at in His pain by the very people He was in the process of offering Himself as the forgiving sacrifice for. Even as He hung on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive the individuals who were crucifying Him. Suffering is not something that God is removed from, that He cannot understand and relate to. He knows the pain you are in, and He joins you, suffers for you, weeps with you. And there was spiritual pain as God the Father poured out His hate for sin onto His beloved and innocent boy, and then turned His face away when He could bear the sight no more. Jesus knows your pain. He knows even greater pain than any of us ever have or ever will. You're never alone in your pain, the whispers that you are, are lies.  

When we were in the hospital with our son, my husband Mark remarked soberly upon seeing the frail, lifeless body of baby Jairus, "Now I have a sense of what God the Father felt as He watched the lifeless body of His Son taken down off the cross." It was agonizing for us to see our son so still and limp, how much more so for God the Father to see His Son.

As we remember today that Jesus went to the cross, let us not forget that His love is not shallow or without reckoning. The love of God for you is so deep that He counted it worth suffering and dying so he could be with you. It amazes me continuously that he loved Jairus enough to go through all that suffering, knowing full well the length of our little guys earthly life was short. His gift is humbling and awesome. The Lord loves each of His children, no matter how few their days or long their years. His intense love is proven in His intense suffering. He took the punishment sin requires. He had to get you back.

He did it for you. 
Will you accept it?

For love. 


  1. Beautiful post, Meg. Very potent. I think you're on to something when you say, "Let us not be so familiar with the story that we go numb to its painful reality." It happens far too often.

    As much as it hurts to be able to relate to God in this new way, I believe you have a sense of knowing Him and being close to His heart in a way that someone who hasn't been through what you and Mark have are able to. In that way, this day is probably a little more somber.

    But on Sunday, a resurrection! And I pray it inspires you a spirit of Hope. Death is temporary for those who trust in the Lord. Jairus' body was not able to conquer death, but Jesus did! And that will make a way for you to be reunited when we're all resurrected in perfection and glory!

    Praying for you today.

  2. Amen Meg!!! He did it all for love!