It took me years before I understood the seeming contradiction that Good Friday was really good because Jesus paid my sins on the cross that day.
Tonight, the reality of Good Friday sank in even deeper as I sat, eyes transfixed, on Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.
I’d seen it in the theater 3 years ago when it came. Now, 3-years-of-days older and 3-years-of-days longer on this walk with the Lord, these are what came to mind as tears rolled down my face.
- “By His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 & I Peter 2:24). As that played over and over in my mind as the minutes wore on, the word that God seemed to emphasize in my heart is “are”–we who have accepted the incredible price He paid for us of exchanging His perfect life for our sinful one–we are healed, spiritually. Not we will be healed. Truly, It is finished.
- Stop!!! As the beatings and scourging went on and on I felt myself wanting to scream out “Stop! Stop! Stop!” It overwhelmed me to consider all that Jesus endured, physically, even before all He had to endure spiritually. I was reminded of a Sunday School discussion one day when I was in high school. The teacher asked the question, “Why did Jesus say, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?'” The class all responded, in various ways, that Jesus was doubting what had happened; that, perhaps, He’d heard God wrong. And I didn’t speak up. How I wish I had! The amazingly terrifying truth is that, in that moment, Jesus exclaimed that because He was separated from the Father–for the first time. It was only in that separation from the Father so that He could be the curse–that He could carry the sin of the entire world, even as He was perfect. Dying for them…for me…to pay the penalty for sin and satisfy the wrath of a Holy God. Someone had to die. A forsaken, sinless Jesus did that. Mel Gibson’s hand was the one in the movie that nailed Jesus’ hand to the cross. But it was me, too. And you. It was all of us. When I saw the movie 3 years ago, I found myself saying, over and over out loud, I did that to You. I did that to You. And yet the beautiful thing is that Jesus laid down His life of His own accord. It wasn’t taken from Him. That is love.
- Blood brings life. Near the end, Jesus’ mother Mary holds Jesus’ lifeless body in her lap, wind stirring her head covering. Her lips and cheeks marked with her son’s blood, her eyes are fixed in the distance. He looks near inhuman; He’s coated with blood and torn skin. And I thought of how this moment was so similar to that first moment Mary held Jesus after she gave birth in the stable 33 years before. Both events brought life. In the first instance it was life for one. In the second, it was for all Life for all who would accept it.
- Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. We don’t wait for Easter anymore. It is finished–paid in full. The resurrection has happened: Jesus rose from the dead, showing that He has power over even death. I have no idea where you are on your spiritual journey, but if you haven’t said yes to Jesus, I can’t think of a better time than right now. Where are you in the story?