This is the day with the paradoxical name. Good Friday. But at first glance it was anything but good. Jesus is betrayed and arrested, tortured, humiliated, betrayed again, wrongly accused and crucified.
Everything screams ‘injustice!’. The supporters who seemed to vanish. The blind Jewish religious elite who seemed determined to eradicate the heresy of His teaching. The Romans who could not wait to show shone muscle in dealing with alleged nationalist insurgents.
Funny how evil aligns all those diametrically opposed forces. These people could not agree for five minutes if out in a room together yet they all seem to be on the same side in that day.
Yet go beyond the horror of the gruesome spectacle. This isn’t an accident. He isn’t a victim.
This was the most daring and selfless act of sacrifice humanity has ever seen. Jesus was dying to pay for our sins. All of us. All of them. Once and for all. The Jewish people would understand this as they brought the sacrifice to the temple. Yet Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
He did intentionally. He did it voluntarily. He did it Himself. Even on the cross you see and hear the clues of who He really is: loving, forgiving, saving, surrendering to the Father.
The ultimate suffering is betrayed by his anguished cry, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’. That’s what was worse than thorns and nails and whips. The separation from God.
Because of sin. Because of me. And you. Us all.
Look at the cross afresh and ask yourself today. Who is He to me? Teacher? Wizard? Prophet? Socialist revolutionary? Lamb of God? King?
The shortest sentence, it’s the most stunning. That word the Greeks would use: tetelestai. It is finished! Not a cry of relief but of victory. And that my friend can be our password into hIs kingdom. And that’s why this ugly, evil, dark Friday is known as Good Friday!