Good Friday is tomorrow.
Around the world, our brothers and sisters in Jesus are stopping…gathering…singing…to remember. To remember moments so sad and awful. Moments many who were there so long ago tried their entire lives to forget. A church book of instructions from the fourth-century, called Good Friday, a "day of mourning, not a day of festive joy." Saint Ambrose, the fourth-century archbishop who was evangelist and pastor and mentor of Saint Augustine, called Good Friday the "day of bitterness.
"So…Good Friday? Good?! What could be so good about that Friday?"
Many believe this curious name was originally "God's Friday". It was the Friday in which God would in one day, make someday, all days His new day.
And it is going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. Sunny and mild.
I remember a spring day like that once. It was one of those days like we had on Wednesday. Skies brilliant and blue. Air clear and crisp. I was jogging along Concord Road in Farragut. It was a Saturday about 2:15. A jeep came towards me. It was filled to overflowing with high school boys. As it got closer, one boy was leaning way out to my side, straining to keep from tumbling out. And than I realized he was slowly cocking his head back. He was going to spit on me. His friends were accomplices in this hilarity and all eyes were bright as the moment of precision aiming and launch was upon us all. I had no room to step off the side of the road so there was no place to escape. "Ready? Aim! FIRE!" I stood still as an ever-changing colloidal missile sped to its target.
And then it was done. And they were gone, laughing and hooting. I stood by the road, covered in it. Wet with nastiness. A little perplexed.
And I thought, "He knows."
My Lord knows how that feels.
When Jesus was arrested and escorted in the cold dark of the night, first to the house of the high priest, Caiaphas, as lies and accusations began to build and then tumble in confusion, and all that continued to grow and strengthen was an evil frustration, and angry actions supplanted angry words, the first of them was this: " Then some began to spit at him…" (Mark 14.65) Before fists, whips or nails, spit.
He knows how it feels.
In Jesus our Lord we have so much more than our minds and hearts could ever comprehend!
We have someone Who has given us the most amazing and healthy teachings of all time.
And so much more!
We have Someone Who has given us the most amazing example of how life on His earth ought to be lived.
And so much more!
We have a wonderful Savior Who has paid with His own blood for this: no one living has ever followed His amazing teaching or amazing example for living, so that we can be forgiven for never having done it well, if at all!
And even so much more than all of this!
In the Letter to the Hebrews, we read that Jesus is for us Someone Who cares about and loves you so much.
And even more than this, He knows how it feels to go through all you do.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16)
The Message says it like this…"We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help."
What's good about Good Friday? What's good about being so sad and remembering hours so dark and painful? One thing that's good about remembering His sorrow and rejection and pain and loneliness and humiliation, is that when you are sad, rejected, hurting, lonely, and humiliated, in your heart you can say…