Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thoughts on Good Friday

If you don’t know the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion, watch Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ.” It’s horrifying and real and tells the Biblical story in a modern day medium.

Have your friends ever let you down? Have you had a friend betray you? Have you been falsely accused of something you did not do? Most of know how it feels to be treated in these ways. Have you been beaten or had someone spit in your face and call you names? Have you been arrested and imprisoned? Have you had your clothes stolen off your body? Have you been publicly humiliated? Have you been tortured while in captivity? Most of us have not had these personal experiences, but we can imagine the cruelty. Have you ever been crucified, literally nailed on a cross to die? Of course not, but Jesus was. It is not pleasant to focus on that day in Jesus’ life. It’s too painful, too gruesome, too disgusting. I'd rather skip over it and go straight to the celebration of Easter.

With the story summarized, here’s my first thought. Jesus went through this agonizing ordeal for us. We remember the event through Jesus’ eyes. It was not until I became a parent that I took a step backwards to view the bigger picture, the picture that includes God the Father. I had a pretty good idea of what that day was like for Jesus but hadn’t really considered what it was like for the Father. He had to watch his son be mistreated and murdered. He too made the supreme sacrifice.

Why did this have to happen? Jesus died to forgive our sins, to redeem us, to save us. How does that make sense? From the very beginning, the Hebrew priests sacrificed animals on the alter for the forgiveness of sins. Why blood? I don’t know, but that is what God requires. Jesus was offered up by the High Priest to be sacrificed on the cross. This was the ultimate, the final sacrifice. We are once and for all forgiven, redeemed and saved.

Hebrew sacrifices were made in the Temple. The Temple was destroyed “shortly” after Jesus died. There is a lot of talk about the Temple being rebuilt before Jesus returns. I don’t think it will be rebuilt. The Temple does not need to be rebuilt. Jesus is the Temple. It isn’t a temple made with stone but with the Spirit of God.

I am not a Bible scholar, these are just my thoughts. I’m always up for new opinions and insights. Leave me a comment.

Our Good Friday service was held at our sister church in Snyder. We were supposed to enter the church somber and quietly. Not easy for me to do. The pastor gave us a paper and envelope with instructions to write down anything that was separating us from God. At the end of the service we put our envelopes at the foot of the cross. I don’t have one big thing that separates me from God. No person, no event, no major addiction. My relationship with God isn’t perfect because I’m not perfect. I wrote, in my mind, for God to reveal to me what I need to work on and we’ll hone those imperfections one at a time.

Think again of Mel Gibson. The amazing film he made that brought honor and glory and people to God. Then Mel goes and acts like a bumbling idiot again. In my heart, I know God is still working on Mel and loves him very much, just like he loves you and me.

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