Growing up I often struggled with the concept of ‘Good Friday’, how could we celebrate the death of a man in such a brutal way, to be fair I think I just glossed over the ‘takes the sin of the world upon him’ part because I just didn’t really feel like I was a sinner, sure I did some things that still haunt me to this day but I was a good person, not a Christ follower, church attender or even a nominal Christian but on the whole I was a better person, if not the same as them anyway so it didn’t matter. I didn’t get how Good Friday was good apart from being a good day off school and part time work.
After my school life was over and as I found my own experience of Christ during my Uni years I began to figure out why Good Friday was so good.
In Romans 5 it states ‘But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. I think I finally understood that sin wasn’t about being good, in fact it was far from it, sin was about missing the mark of what God has intended for my life and the lack of fullness I was missing because of my choices, counter to God desire. Yes I was a good person and lived a pretty good life, but boy was I empty and had missed the mark of his fullness. Good Friday was indeed good, God had removed the power of the missed mark and filled it with his glory through the one thing that humans fear, death.
Fast forward to today, I love the Lord God, Worship Jesus and am passionately following the Holy Spirit and indeed Good Friday is the day that set the tone for this to be possible. It’s a day I am reminded that everyday is designed for his fullness, Yes Jesus had to die so that I might live fully, but wow, the fact a loving God would give up his son so that I, and you, may live fully is astounding.
This year, unlike the years before, I feel closer to understanding God’s part of the sacrifice. I knew that Jesus was the ultimate guy by being willing to die in my place, for sins I still continue to make both accidental and at times wilfully, but this year I think I better understand the Fathers heart.
My son, Joshua Levi George, only got to hang out inside my wife for 24 weeks before he eagerly came to meet us in the flesh, way too short, but I can promise you that the love I felt for that little guy, whom prior to everything going wrong I had only met on a screen, was far beyond anything I could adequately describe and too incomprehensible to have considered giving up. I can assure you now that if it were a choice between my only son’s death and the fate of the world I could not have made the right decision. But God, as the ultimate Father who loves you as much as he loves his own Son, gave him up so that you might live.
But that’s all great from a preachy theological standpoint but where is the application?
In John 6, before his death, Jesus talks about being the ‘Bread of Life’, it gets a little gory and he starts talking about his body being bread and his blood being wine but if we put aside the cannibalistic overtones we read in verse 51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Now I know it is not a particularly pleasant passage and may turn you off your hot cross buns this morning but Jesus was encouraging us to partake in his death so that we who share in his death will also share in his life.
He states earlier “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
There is plenty of other backstory that goes with all this but to make sure you don’t leave me here I will just keep moving to the ‘how’ bit.
The people ask “what must we do to do the works God requires?” and Jesus simply answers “…to believe in the one he has sent.”
Easter is a great time, better than Christmas in my mind, Jesus died that you and I might live to the full, not that we will live to the full, we need to choose that and choose it every day. I encourage you on this Good Friday to “believe in the one he has sent” , for God the ultimate loving Father, Jesus that all-giving Son, and the ever present and guiding Holy Spirit just want to lavish their love on you now and through eternity.
I hope you have a really Great Friday