“Good Friday is much more than reliving the passion of Jesus; it is entering into solidarity with the passion of all people of our planet…In Jesus all human suffering is collected. The broken heart of Jesus is the broken heart of God. The broken heart of God is the broken heart of the world” (Henri Nouwen).
Once again, I went through a Good Friday prayer experience where I prayed through the seven stations of the cross (because us Baptists aren’t quite as ambitious as those Catholics who have fourteen stations).
I made an intentional effort not to hurry through this year. I sat and meditated and wrote down my thoughts. I read the Scripture and I studied the paintings depicting the events of Good Friday such as Pilate washing his hands after the trial and the Romans forcing Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross.
The thought that kept coming back was this: I too often take for granted the cost of my salvation. It might have been free for me, but it wasn’t free. It cost Jesus in sweat, blood, pain, and life.
It struck me that Jesus could have at any moment on this day decided to bail out. He would have been perfectly within His rights to choose not to die for those who had been reprobates and enemies of God. Yet He saw it through to the end. He stayed the course until He breathed His last.
I know what it’s like to have friends bail on me. Maybe they decided I just wasn’t worth it anymore. Maybe it was just their season of life no longer matched mine.
I’ve probably written off a few people in my time as well. Not that I’m proud of it, but I did.
I’m unceasingly grateful Jesus could see me at my very worst, when I was most cowardly and fearful, and in that moment choose to go all the way to Calvary for me. He chose the nails for me over the comfortable existence He had known in heaven.
Good Friday is only good because of what we’ll be celebrating in two days. In fact, if not for Sunday and what happened then, all my prayers and piety and promises are all in vain.
But thanks be to God that while it may look bleak and hopeless on Friday, Sunday’s comin’!