Often we are far too familiar with people or things. And it causes us to lose the amazement and delight that ought to be there. Relationships are easily destroyed through that. Boredom and entitlement sets in. And perhaps that is somehow explainable as we live in an increasingly fast paced world, where our attention span is becoming shorter by the day.
You and I are likely to see the symbol of a cross almost daily. A necklace, an architectural artefact, a funeral stone, a monument, a tattoo… Yet few would remember why it is there and what it represents. Common symbols with a lost message.
Today, as you rewind the years back, on a day like this, Jesus was crucified among two thieves on a hill outside Jerusalem. Almost to add to the drama, it was named the Skull. It was a sight just as familiar to those passing by as it is alien to us today. I think of the public stoning of women in Afghanistan or the hangings from football posts. Shivers run through you, just as you think about it.
But this wasn’t a socio-political plot to execute a dissident. Even though it looked like it, on the great invisible stage of the Universe, this was arguably the second most meaningful act after Creation. Allow me to pull back the curtain and let you into the truths about Good Friday.
It wasn’t an accident. Jesus was born to die. It was His mission, and although He struggled at a few points, He went all the way.
It was the end. These were Jesus’ famous last words. They were not words of relief but victory. ‘it is finished’ was a proclamation of defeat over sin, suffering and Satan himself.
It wasn’t the end. As prophesied, three days later Jesus is risen from the death, to seal that victory and bring to us all the possibility of a brand new life.
It was for you. Although Jesus died for all, it was not a number or a faceless mass. When He willingly gave His life He was paying for your own sins.
Most important truth is this. It demands a reaction. All who passed by reacted. Some in disbelief, others in mockery, even some in with despair. Two thieves. The same sentence. Two reactions. One arrogantly rejecting Him. The other desperately accepting His reign. Which one are you and I resembling today?