I love Good Friday.
Maybe it’s because I’ve got a stream of melancholy that runs through my personality. Maybe because marketers are at a loss how to commercialize it. Or maybe because it points with hope to Jesus’ resurrection.
But I think my love for Good Friday comes because, simply, I’m taken with Jesus on the cross.
Let me step back.
You may or may not be able to relate, but I’m usually pretty aware that I’m not the man I want to be. In general, I like myself and enjoy my own company. But if the greatest command is to love God and the second is to love others, then however I look on the outside, from my insider’s vantage point, I’m not doing very well.
I want to love better. I really do. But sometimes it’s like I’m a guy watching a movie of my life even while it’s happening.
Right there in front of me, I watch as I lose my temper with my kids (when they’re actually being hilarious), pick up my iPhone and check email while my wife is talking to me, hold grudges, posture in front of the mirror to see how good (or bad) I look, mentally criticize people I’m jealous of, ignore my baby’s cries, think I’m superior to other Christians who “just don’t get it,” covet my neighbor’s truck, hope some wealthy reader will read this and buy me a truck, slip into worry and despair, strive for people’s approval, and on and on I go.
Pass the popcorn.
I joke, but in reality, it’s all too much for me. I disobey my God and forsake my first Love. I hurt people. I hurt me. I feel like Paul when he wrote, “Woe to me! Who will save me from the body of this death?”
Good Friday reaches this stuff in me like no other holiday.
God knew it would. In my life and in yours. He’s been whispering about it since the beginning.
- When He drew first blood to clothe guilty Adam and Eve in flesh, He was whispering of the cross.
- When Abraham placed wood on Isaac’s back before they climbed the hill where father would sacrifice son, God was whispering of the cross.
- When God stopped Abraham’s sacrifice by showing him the ram in the thicket, it was a whisper of the cross.
- God’s command to slay the Passover lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts as a sign: a whisper of the cross.
And on and on He goes.
Moses staff, the tree at Marah, water from the rock, Aaron’s rod that budded, the bronze serpent on a pole, the scapegoat, the lamb, the dove, the red heifer, the scarlet thread and piece of cedar wood, the ark of the covenant (Did you know the Hebrew word for ark was also used for coffin?), Rahab’s signal, Isaiah’s suffering servant.
Throughout history, across the pages of Scripture, God was pointing, hinting, alluding, whispering, “The cross, the cross, the cross. Jesus.”
He knew all along we could not carry the weight of our wrongs. Knew all along we needed a place for them to go. He has not left us to helplessly watch our sin continue. He has made a way for us to become, actually become, the men and women He made us to be.
I love Good Friday. I love the Passion, the bread, the wine, the cross. (And yes, the Resurrection.)
I mean to write with words that resound. But when they come out, they’re no more than a whisper.
How can I describe the fullness of Christ on the cross? How can I convey it?
Come Friday. Come eat the bread and drink the wine. Come behold the cross and see for yourself.