C Cycle – Good Friday 22
We humans have a deep seated need for affirmation, for acceptance, to be liked, and appreciated. Rejection in any form is hard on our psyche and we will respond negatively to rejection in any form. Rejection during our childhood and adolescence can cause deep wounds which will motivate us as adults to seek what we failed to receive.
The scriptures tell us from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, he was betrayed, denied, mocked, and challenged. The night before this day he was aware of what was awaiting him and as he prays, he begs the father to let it pass; do it another way he cries out to the Father. All the while knowing his crucifixion was the only way to remove the barrier of sin separating us from God. Accepting his role in our salvation, Jesus was arrested, flogged, and wrongly accused. He experienced rejection by the people he came to set free, was spat upon, stripped of his clothes, and marched to calvary to be crucified to die a death Cicero called the more hideous of all tortured.
Yet, the scriptures quickly mention those things and focus on the spiritual agony of his sacrifice for our sins. Not because the human Jesus did not feel the impact of rejection, abandonment, and denial by those he came to redeem. He felt that pain of flogging, the crown of thorns, the beatings, the nails as his life slowly slipped away. What the human Jesus experienced this day is something we could not endure for one minute. The movie “the Passion of Christ” by Mel Gibson depicts his passion so graphically many people said they could not watch those scenes. However, as graphic as that movie was it does not even come close to revealing what Jesus endured that day.
There was a scene in another movie, “The Shack,” where the main character Max asks God and Jesus a very pointed question about his passion and death. That question was, “was it worth it.” Both God and Jesus answer in unison, stating firmly and passionately YES. The scriptures are only focused on the result of his passion not the brutality of his passion. They show us how far God will go to have us realize how deeply he desires us to grasp the meaning of the cross. As we focus on that cross this day, we need to keep our focus not the broken body of Jesus but instead experience the love God desires us to experience because of the cross.
The cross is all about us! It is our passport to the kingdom of God on earth. It is our love letter from God revealing his desire for intimacy with us. It is an act which removes the filth of sin which clings to us and restores our innocence and purity. This day is a day to celebrate; it is not as time to mourn. It is the fulfillment of the plan of God to have the barrier sin puts between us and God removed.
Isiah, the prophet reveals the plan of God when he said it is, “…our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter…. he shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.” God laid our sins on him so that we would be able to stand in front of God knowing we are loved and forgiven. We need to do nothing but accept the gift of Grace God has given us in Christ. This is the day we became heirs to the kingdom, sons, and daughters of God