Good Friday is one of the most important days of the Christian calendar, a day where we remember Jesus’s death on the cross. Now I’m going to reflect a bit on the humanity of Jesus, and how important it is to remember He wasn’t just 100% God, but 100% human, and how that makes the cross even more meaningful.
Sometimes it can be hard to connect with the idea that Jesus was 100% human and what that really meant for Him, and for us. However, this was the only way that He could fully pay for the sin of the world and of the human race. Jesus had to empty Himself fully of His divinity in order to be a suitable sacrifice for our sin.
It’s often easy to think that because Jesus was the Son of God, that somehow He knew what was going to happen with
absolute certainty, as God does. That somehow the crucifixion was easier because He knew for certain what would happen. He knew the future. He knew He’d be raised from the dead.
But if that were true, the crucifixion would mean nothing. Jesus, in entering into our humanity, had to trust God in the exactly same way we try to, be obedient in exactly the same way we are called to be and trust in God’s will and power to deliver Him, to live by faith in the same way we are called to. The agony Jesus went through in Gethsemane (as I talked about here) and the physical and the emotional turmoil He went through in the lead up to His arrest is evidence of this. Jesus was fully human. Yes, He was the Son of God, 100% God. But He was fully human in His living and every day and entered into a relationship to God like ours. Jesus was the perfect example of what it means to be human the way God originally designed us to be. That’s one of the main reasons Good Friday is where Jesus relates to us more deeply and authentically than anywhere else, and why I personally love Good Friday more than any other day on the Christian calendar. How often have you felt lonely, abandoned, betrayed, ignored, in pain of any kind, and then got mad with God, and said to yourself, or even shouted out loud, “You don’t know how I feel!!” “How can you possibly know how I feel?” “You’re God, you’re away from everything, its easy for you, you have no idea what I’m going through”. I know I’ve felt this way many times. Good Friday is where Jesus connects with how we feel in these moments. It’s where more than anywhere else Jesus entered fully into His and our humanity. Lets look at what He actually went through. In purely physical terms, the Roman flogging Jesus endured was no light crack of the whip. This was tens of lashes with sharp, rough stones which could rip off pieces of flesh. It was such a painful experience it often killed people. Crucifixion was the most painful form of execution ever devised. It would often take people several days to die, by asphyxiation. People were nailed naked to wooden crosses and left in the heat, without food or water, to suffer the most agonizing death. Jesus suffered these two forms of torture very close together, on the same day. Even the Romans rarely allowed that to happen. Most of the time they would flog a prisoner one day, then if he survived they’d crucify him the next day. But Jesus endured both in one day – it was no wonder He took less long to die than most other victims of crucifixion. So, Jesus was enduring the worst possible physical torture anyone could ever suffer. But this isn’t all. He was going through emotional, spiritual and mental torture just as painful. Rejected by everyone. Abandoned by his friends. Betrayed by someone close to Him. Unjustly treated and condemned. Publicly humiliated. Spat on and insulted. All the time being totally submitted to God’s will, trusting Him as we have to. All the time loving and forgiving us. Good Friday is Jesus saying to us: “I know how it feels”. “I know how it feels to be rejected, abandoned and alone” “I know how it feels when your friends let you down” “I know how it feels when you’re betrayed by those you trust” “I know how it feels to be publicly humiliated” “I know how it feels when you’re treated unfairly” “I know how it feels to be insulted” “I know how it feels to be tortured” “I know how it feels go through the worst kind of physical pain and suffering”. “I know how hard it is to trust God and be obedient when everything inside you is telling you to run away, and everything seems to be against you” “I know how it feels when it seems like God has abandoned you”. Jesus is with us in all our pain, suffering, hopelessness, disappointment, frustration, bitterness, despair and loneliness. Not distant, not separate, not above but right there with us. Because He’s been there. On Good Friday, Jesus says to us “I know how you feel and have the scars to prove it. Now let me heal yours”
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