Good Friday is When Hope Began.

4/14
((from Steph))
Nearly 2,000 years ago today, a 33 year old man was betrayed by a friend for money.

Turned over to the authorities, he was mocked, cursed and beaten.

This man faced trial, and although they had no charge against him, he was found guilty and sentenced to the most shameful of deaths, death on a cross by crucifixion.

Made to carry the very vehicle of his own death, this man, broken and bleeding, dragged the heavy wooden beam, to which his body would later be nailed, through the dusty streets of the very city that had been covered in coats and palm branches welcoming his arrival.

For three hours he hung, his mangled body showcased for all to see.

Above him the guards had placed a sign: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews”.

As he hung there, the man cried for his God and declared his God’s righteousness. 

He cried out again. And he gave up his spirit and died.

Immediately the ground shook with fury.

And the curtain in the temple that had kept God from His people all these years was torn in two.

(from Matthew 26 & 27)

– – –

For Christians, today commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. A paradox of mourning and hopeful expectation, Good Friday is “good” because we know the end of the story: Christ is victorious over death.

If you think about it, new life isn’t possible without the death of something else. Even the flowers of the field die so that their seeds, abounding in new life, may be blown about as far as the wind will take them. Death gives birth to new life, and thus, new life necessitates death.
As Paul writes to the church in Ephesus:

“God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy.  So He gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6

This is why today, this somber, very sad day, is considered so very good.

Today is when hope began. It is where, at the intersection of the cross, wrath met mercy. Through the blood of Christ, the sins of the world met forgiveness.

Without Christ’s death, the resurrection would not be possible. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; [as] you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17

Without Good Friday, Easter Sunday would not come.

 
Reflect today on the gift of new life, peace and restoration that you and all of creation have been given through Christ’s enduring of the cross. Are you living in such a way that gives breath to this new life? Take time to meditate on the below passages and know that you are loved and death no longer has a sting.
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55


“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Acts 2:24

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

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