When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” (Luke 23:33-35)
Our first mother and father stood at a tree, admired its pleasing fruit, and gulped down what was forbidden to them. What they took into their bodies none of us has been able to un-digest. The curse they invoked has infected their entire line—all of us—turning us into something we were never meant to be.
We don’t need to believe Scripture to know that things are not the way they should be. We feel it in our bones.
When we look in the mirror and see our aging faces, we know it is true. In our sickest moments, we know it. When our children suffer, we know it. When pandemic covers the planet, we know it.
Our addictions remind us. Our conflicting desires expose that something is off. Our inability to do what we want to do reminds us. When disaster strikes and then further disaster, we know something is not right.
Each in our own way can hear our souls cry out in desperation, “Who will save me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
From the Passover table with his companions, Jesus rises and goes out into the darkness to face another tree alone. This tree is not pleasing to the eye. His insides heave at the thought of drinking of its fruit (“Let this cup pass from me!”)—a cup filled with all the evil thoughts of men’s hearts, all the horrific deeds of Adam’s race.
And yet, he consents: “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:36-42).
On Good Friday, Jesus is crucified.
Interestingly, each Gospel writer includes the name of the hill where Jesus is killed: Golgotha. Or Skull. The first Adam brought death upon all our heads. The second Adam’s blood pours out upon the Skull.
He takes in the curse, he drinks down the cup to the dregs until he himself becomes that curse, carrying our curse to death (see Galatians 3:13, Philippians 2:8).
And yet, in the midst of his heroism, he is ridiculed. In the midst of his sacrifice, he is stripped and humiliated. In the midst of his greatest need, the people stand by just looking. In the midst of his infinitely generous gift, he is reviled. And still, he gives more.
What kind of God is this?
This Good Friday as Jesus breathes his last, what can we do but kneel in reverent worship?
Jesus, all glory to you. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.