A friend asked me that question many years ago, and while I’m sure he asked it out of the cynicism of a tired college student, the question still resonates in my mind almost fifteen years later.
In the midst of our busy lives, Good Friday stands as a stark reminder of the cost of our humanity. The day of Christ’s crucifixion and death; the day God said, “Here, let me do this for you.” All debts: paid in full.
When I think if the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice that day — the embarrassment, the torture, the weight of the cross, the pain of a slow, agonizing death — my heart breaks.
The thought that human beings could subject another to such brutality is frightening, but is at the same time an all-to-present reality. Throughout history we see it repeated again and again, and we think, “But we’re better than that now.”
But are we? My Facebook feed is filled with reports of violence, outrage, discrimination, vitriolic statements on every side, and everyone that apparently knows more than everyone else. Oh yeah, and it’s an election year too.
It is all too clear that we are a world still in need of a savior. We shout from the soapboxes of our own righteousness, “I’m right! You’re wrong!” We have at best marginalized, and at worst vilified our neighbor. Our obsession with being Right and Righteous has overtaken our desire to be loving and grace-filled. We want Heaven, but we don’t want to see ________ there.
We. Are. Pharisees.
Truth is, at my best moment, I would have been like Peter that day, denying Christ and running away to hide in my shame. The reality is, the crowds would be calling for his execution even today, and as much as the thought frightens me, I know the words, “Crucify Him!” would likely echo from my lips as well. The corruption of my heart would far outweigh any righteousness I may be able to claim. Glad is my heart that He died for the hypocrites too.
When He died, it was enough. How often we forget this simplest of foundations for our faith. We torture ourselves “earning” His forgiveness. Perhaps even worse, we demand righteousness from others before they’re “eligible” to receive it, knowing full well the sins we have buried in our own back yard.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I am so thankful: His death paid the price for my pride, my greed, my refusal to see things from another’s perspective. That was my cross He shouldered, and it was yours.
Easter is my favorite holiday. The event that it symbolizes is the cornerstone of my faith. Jesus’s death on Good Friday wasn’t the beginning of God’s plan, nor was it the end. But it was the linchpin to freedom: payment for the sins of the world, and EVERYONE in it. Without that payment, we would never have access to the abundance of life that God has for us all.
“It is finished.” Paid. In. Full.
What’s so good about Good Friday?
It’s the day that God showed me He is a better man than I am.