So its Good Friday.
This is a day which gives me great hope, and in some ways great relief.
This is a day which not only reminds us how much God loves us, but offers hope that no matter what is happening to us, no matter what our problems, no matter what our deepest fears our and how little hope there seems to be,that we know someone who has seen worse.
I think sometimes we dumb down Good Friday and the crucifixion. We take the divinity of Christ and say “Well going through that was easy for him because he knew what was going to happen anyway”
I actually don’t believe that.
Jesus had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. God had told Him what was going to happen and Jesus trusted Him.
But Jesus didn’t know for sure.
If He did he wouldn’t be 100% human. You see in order to share fully our human experience and indeed in order to be a perfect sacrifice Jesus had to trust God in exactly the same way we do. He had to be obedient in faith, trusting totally in God and submitting totally to Him, just as we are asked to.
Obviously Jesus was 100% God as well, and divine, so obviously he had a special anointing, special gifting and different perspective. But the bottom line is that Jesus had to experience the same temptations and experiences we do in order to be fully human.
In Gesthemene those human desires come through. He tries to find a way out of it. He asks for the cup to be taken from Him….”if it is possible”
But then eventually He settles on obedience. He chooses Gods way whatever that will be. He trusts in God’s will and plan.
He willingly and knowingly allows himself to be subjected to the worst physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and mental torture any single human being has ever undergone. Not only did He have the physical torture of a Roman flogging, which nearly killed most people, not only the torture of crucifixion, the most painful method of execution ever devised by man, not only the emotional pain of being abandoned by all His friends, not only the torment of being insulted, attacked, mocked and made fun of by all those around Him, not only the injustice of being convicted of a crime he hadn’t committed, but there was more.
Satan must have been continually telling Him to give up. Telling Him he could give it all up and it wouldn’t matter as He hadn’t sinned. Reminding him of how easy it could be to walk away. Tempting Him to sin in every possible kind of way. The apparent abandonment by his own Father in Heaven.
He was in the worst possible physical pain.
He was in emotional torment.
He was feeling spritually alone.
He was being constantly tempted by the enemy.
Lonliness. Abandonment. Torture. Rejection. Temptation. Execution. Fear.
All these issues would have confronted Jesus – not just on the day itself, but in the days leading up to it.
Jesus chose to be faithful and obedient.
Jesus chose to trust God.
Jesus chose to trust in His own identity and calling.
No matter what. Even if it cost Him his own life.
To the end.
Jesus faced on Good Friday and the days leading up to it all the temptations, fears, issues, problems and torments we all face. And in all of them He had to trust God just as we do. He didn’t have a gurantee from God it was all okay, and He had no need to worry. God had told Him what was to happen and He trusted in His father and was obedient to His calling and to the truth – just as well all have to be in difficult circumstances.
In those hours, Jesus fully understood the issues we all face. The temptations, fears, pain, grief and experiences we all have, one way or another. Not in a way that was seperate. But in a way that was fully human, yet still divine.
Jesus shared our humanity totally, He faced all the issues and temptations we do.
And through it all He chose the way of God. Even if it cost Him his life.
Jesus died on Friday. It was dark. It was painful. It was the darkest day in history.
But it was just part of the story.
Jesus trusted His Father to the end. He was sinless and obedient to the end.
“It is finished”
Then He died. And in that moment was both fully human and fully divine, in the deepest possible way.
And three days later, God came through and delivered.
And the story is still going on right now. All of us who try to live our lives around the way of Jesus are living that story every day, and He is living it with us. In us. Never abandoning us.
And knowing becuase of Good Friday exactly what we are feeling, thinking, experiencing and what is tempting us in every possible way. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually. Psychologically.
In every possible way, he understands.
Because He’s been there and done it.
And because of that, there is hope for us all.