Today being Good Friday I thought it would be a good day to examine the cross.
I remember as a child going to Good Friday services at church. They were always a little frightening to me as the drama would be reenacted and the crowds would shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The truth is that Good Friday was frightening. At the time, Good Friday started off looking like a very bad day. For a little while it appeared that evil had won and that Jesus had been defeated. Even from our vantage point now, that thought sends a shudder through us.
However, we know the end of the story. That cross designed as an instrument of torture, became an instrument that sang out God’s redemption and love. That cross meant to break the dearest and best instead made Him broken bread to nourish our souls. Jesus’ victory over sin and death on the cross turned it into a symbol of triumph that we wear around our necks and hang on our walls.
We are encouraged as followers of Christ to sit at His feet and learn from Him. But to sit at His feet while He is on the cross is a whole different experience. If we allow ourselves to meditate on what Jesus actually did there we will be overcome by emotion. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to sanitize the cross in my head. However, imagining Jesus as He is depicted in all of the beautiful art and on crucifixes does not tell the full story. The Bible records that He was not even recognizable as a human by the time He died, something that is difficult to think about. I know that the best part of Jesus’ death is His triumph over it in His resurrection, but I think we need to spend some time contemplating the cross. If we just skim over His death, we will not truly capture the awe of His empty tomb.
There will never be an end to all we can write, sing or say about what happened at the crucifixion and then the resurrection. Even if we were to deeply examine the cross every day, we would still discover more depth to God’s loving work there. So I would encourage you to ask God what He wants to show you about the cross today on this very Good Friday.
“When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After Jesus’ resurrection, when they had come out of the tombs, they entered the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God.'” Matthew 27:50-54