Good Friday and the Cross

I don’t like bad news.  I’m the kind of guy that always wants the bad news first so I can end with the good.  I like having the good taste in my mouth.  I don’t like leaving on a somber note.  I like everything to good and pleasant and uplifting and happy.

Because of that, I really love Easter.  I mean, Easter is the best.  The bright colors. The happy faces.  The joy.  The hallelujahs. Everything about Easter is the best.  I love it.  I love preaching on Easter.  I love everything about Easter. It is literally the best.

What I don’t like, however, is Good Friday.  I don’t like thinking about the cross. I’m not talking about the cross as we often thinking of it, as a sign of peace and comfort.  But the cross as an instrument of death.  The cross, as used by Rome, as an instrument of humiliation.  The cross, as a tool of suffering.

The actual cross that Jesus died upon.

I don’t like to think about that.

Because it makes me think about why.  Why did Jesus go to the cross?  We affirm this in the Nicene Creed:

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.

For our sake. For me. For you.  We are told in Isaiah 53: 6-7:

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

Portiuncula_Chapel_cross_0724It is easy to think that our sins are hidden.  That no one knows. No one knows our heart. That’s between God and me.  That may be true.  God knows my heart.  He knows your heart. He knows our thoughts and our actions, and He knows that our sin separates us from Him.

I don’t like to think about that.  I like the good thoughts.  Not these.

But friends, we must consider this. We must. We must ponder this if we want the victory of Easter to truly have its power.  Unless He goes the cross, He can’t be raised.

For the victory of Easter to come, the pain of today must first come.

Don’t rust past Good Friday.  Don’t make a beeline right for Easter. Stop today and ponder.  Consider.  Pray.  Weep.

Consider what our sin has done to ourselves.  To others.  To those that we love.  To our relationships.  To our God. Consider that corrosive effect that sin has upon everything that is beautiful.

Consider what Jesus has done to undo what we have done.  How he suffered for me.  For you. For us each.  Not because of His actions, but because of ours.  Consider His sacrifice.

And then come to church Sunday. Because Good Friday does not have the final word.  Death never has the final word.

Sunday is coming. But first, let us consider the darkness of Friday.

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