It is Holy Week 2017. This is a week of reverence and remembrance in the Christian community of faith. This week symbolizes a foundational truth of our faith – the life, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Today, Good Friday, is the day Jesus fulfilled prophecy. His people, the Jews strongly urged the high priest to crucify, the King. They chose to spare the life of a radical revolutionary who committed murder during protests for the life of a radical revolutionary who performed miracles while enduring protests.
This year, I wondered why this Friday was labeled as “Good.” The easy answer is that it was good that He was crucified for a sinner, such as I. His death for my life. But reading the description of the events of that day do not depict anything good. He was taken to court with no lawyer, subpoena, or jury of His peers. His accusers had no just cause for their rage other than a fulfillment of scripture. He was classified as the King of the Jews. After his sentencing of capital punishment, He was bound, hand and foot. Then he was beaten. The whip as described by Robert Gidley (2000):
The whip had iron balls tied a few inches from the end of each leather thong on the whip. Sometimes, sharp sheep bones would be tied near the ends. The iron balls would cause deep bruising, while the leather thongs cut deep into the skin. The sheep bones would hasten the process of cutting into the skin. After a few lashes the skin would be cut through, and the muscle would begin to be cut. Blood loss was considerable, and the pain would probably put the victim in a state of shock. (para. 7)
Then the soldiers, to mock Him, placed a purple (color of royalty, dignity) robe upon his shoulders, placed a sceptre (a reed) in His hand, and a crown of thorns upon his head. They repeatedly cried, “Hail, the King of the Jews.” Once they had their fun, He was stripped of His robe and then He was then forced to carry His cross which weighed about 100 lbs. But after being beaten so, he was too weak to carry Himself much less the cross to Golgotha (place of a Skull) where the crucifixion would take place so the soldiers found a man to carry the cross for Him.
Once they arrived, the cross was laid down and His body was placed and then nailed. They drove spikes into his wrists, not His hands, so they could carry the weight of His body. One leg was placed atop the other and the spikes were driven into his feet. A sign reading, “This is Jesus The King of the Jews” was nailed a the top of the cross, written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. Then the cross was raised and placed on the hill, Calvary. His body gave into gravity. He hung there for 6 hours: placed on the cross around 9 am; at noon, darkness set upon the earth; and it was 3 pm when He cried to God and His humanity was released. He felt forsaken. But he then released His last breath and died.
How is it that something so horrific and disturbing could be declared good? But that is how God works. He takes what is deemed evil and declares it good. We reflect on this time and are reminded of the pain endured from head to toe: a crown of thorns forced into His head until blood ran down, stripes placed on His back until His flesh was exposed, spikes several inches long hammered into His bones. The thought of that level of sacrifice pierces my emotions. I am humbled by the notion that despite the pain and the shame, He thought of me. He had my birth, my joys, my bruises, my disappointments, my triumphs, my hurt, my aches, my achievements, my sins, and my grace on His mind. This is the God I have chosen to serve and that I respectfully honor today and all weekend long.
It is a good Friday, God’s Friday and I am grateful.
Give Love. Get Love.
Gidley, R. (2000). The facts of the crucifixion. The Cross Reading. Retrieved from http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/the-facts-of-crucifixion.html