This is a hard day for me. And I want it that way.
Ever since I fell completely in love with Jesus, Good Friday has taken on a whole new depth. I struggle with the name–“Good.”
Of course, I understand that ultimately this day is good, but it’s kind of like eating popcorn during the movie, The Passion. Something is just not right.
My understanding is that “good” is meant like “holy” and in Orthodox churches, today is called “Great and Holy Friday”. Makes a little more sense.
I read a book this week called Riven, by Jerry B. Jenkins. Fascinating book that will leave you changed.
Riven–Verb: split or tear apart violently
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.
I am conflicted. I want to understand what Jesus did for me today thoroughly so I once again appreciate the price that was paid for me-for my sin and my sickness-yet I cringe at the thought. Just like when I first watched The Passion. I wanted them to stop. I wanted Him to say “Enough!”, yet I knew it had to continue in order to save my life!
Jesus was beaten with the Roman scourging whip, not just an average whip. It is a wicked instrument that contained pieces of bone, glass, or nails. This type of scourging exposed, muscle, veins, even organs and possibly even the spine! The soldiers had to be careful not to disembowel their victim, so brutal was the instrument. This is BEFORE He is mercilessly hung for six hours to endure an excruciating death by asphyxiation. The Romans were experts at pain and my Jesus was given the worst that they had.
The purpose of Jesus hanging naked was to shame Him. From the first sin came the shame of nakedness, so He died this way to take our shame from us.
He carried a rough, splintery, extremely heavy cross on an already wounded body to bear my burden.
This is my brave and powerful Jesus Who proved He would do anything for me. How could it ever be viewed any other way?
Can you imagine how you would feel if you knew that later today you had to suffer through even one of the things Jesus did that day to save someone you love? We bravely say we would do anything for those we love, but if we faced it right now…
I write today, not to prove anything or to wax poetic about the cross. My heart is heavy, with gratitude, sorrow, and love for One who would do this just for me.
But, Sunday’s comin’…
Isaiah 53–The Message
1 Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
2-6 The Servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about Him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a Man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on Him, thought He was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains He carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on Himself,
that God was punishing Him for His own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to Him,
that ripped and tore and crushed Him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through His bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on Him, on Him.
7-9 He was beaten, He was tortured,
but He didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
He took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and He was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for His own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried Him with the wicked,
threw Him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though He’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.
10 Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush Him with pain.
The plan was that He give himself as an offering for sin
so that He’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through Him.
11-12 Out of that terrible travail of soul,
He’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad He did it.
Through what He experienced, my righteous One, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as He Himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward Him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because He looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because He embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on His own shoulders the sin of the many,
He took up the cause of all the black sheep.