on this day, “Good Friday”, the day we remember Christ’s crucifixion, i cannot help but be overcome with sadness. sadness for the excruciating pain that Christ felt, sadness for the loneliness and abandonment He went through as His disciples fled as He was beaten and persecuted. and yet, i find great joy in this day, for this sadness is a thin veil for the incredible joy that is to come.
the why of the cross
many images come to mind when i consider this day and the cross of Jesus Christ. i imagine the aslan character of c.s. lewis’ famous chronicles of narnia series, walking steadfast toward the altar that he would be slaughtered on, as the wild beasts around Him hunch back in fear that He might lash out at them at any moment, which he could. yet he never does. He knows why he is there, and he came to see it through. i am deeply thankful to c.s. lewis for painting such a vivid picture of the restrained power on Jesus’ part as He was lead to His death.
and i think of a sermon i heard several years ago, where the pastor shouted, “don’t you dare be sorry for Him! He made the choice to go to the cross! and He did that for you, out of love. no, don’t be sorry for Him, for that is a slap in His face.”
if the cross of Christ was unintentional, if He did not desire to be crucified, then we would have every right to be sorry for Him. but that is not the case. no, it was out of love that He refused to back down when given the opportunity to deny that He was the Christ. that is what drove Christ to the cross that day. that is what allowed Him to not relent when the loneliness, fatigue, shame and pain set in. no, He simply could not. why? because it was always about His love for us. and that love was and is greater than anything that stood in His way.
He knew exactly what it meant for Him to be lifted up and crucified. it meant the salvation of the world! it was so that God’s love could be made known to all generations. and He saw that, clearly. that, that is what drove Christ to the cross.
to bring us home
did Christ suffer? absolutely! more than we will ever know. but it was not because He had a masochistic father who took joy in bringing His Son pain; it was because both the Father and the Son knew that His pain would bring healing for our pain. and, ultimately, that it would bring us the right-standing with The Father that He had always enjoyed.
but this once, on this day, that was a position He did not enjoy. no, He gave it up for our sake. that we might be called His sons and His daughters.
Oh what love it took to walk steadfast to the Cross that day! Oh what determination it took! may we never forget or minimize that act of love. may it stand ever present in our minds as the ultimate symbol of His love for us and His desire to bring us home to Himself. and may we find great joy and comfort in that, even in His pain, even in his suffering.