In French, it is vendredi saint
In Spanish, Viernes Santo
In Swedish, långfredag
In Dutch, Goede Vrijdag
In German, Karfreitag
In Korean, 성 금요일
In Ukranian, Страсна п’ятниця
And in English….Good Friday
All around the world, wherever Easter is celebrated there is also recognition of this day that reminds us of Jesus’ love and commitment to redeem all of creation through his life and ultimate death.
There are many things that we could focus on this Good Friday that led up to that historic and eternal moment when Jesus changed everything. We could look at how the disciples promptly scattered and fled following his arrest, how Peter incredulously denied even knowing Jesus, and the multiple trials that propelled him through the courts unjustly. We could certainly linger around the physical and psychological toll his body and mind endured before and during his hours-long death on the cross, or what it must have been like to witness this horrendous event by those who loved him, bowed with grief and despair.
Any of these and more could be the focus of this next to the last day of Lent, some I’ve written about in past years right here. This time around, it’s something I’ve not really given a lot of thought to, (and I have an idea why…) so, I guess it’s time.
It has to do with the Jewish leaders and others who had been following this Jesus of Nazareth for some time, first with novel curiosity, then fear of religious upheaval and eventually, with rage and baseless accusations.
When we think of betrayal, our minds immediately turn to Judas, but there were also many others who misrepresented Jesus’ words and teaching in an effort to sway the court and push him toward crucifixion, something Jews just did not do to one another in the Roman courts. These weren’t people who didn’t know God and had neglected the commandments as given by Moses. These were individuals who had been chosen by God to be his people, and instead had incited fear, were led by greed and the need for control of the hearts and minds of Israel. And they were also children of the One True God….they should have known better.
Truth is, it’s pretty easy to get comfortable in my own cushy scoffing seat and throw out questions like, “How could they?” and “Why didn’t they?” because it seems so far removed from anything I can even remotely imagine myself doing. It’s so easy to see their faults, and judge their actions, because they were truly and completely wrong.
See where this is going? =)
While they certainly had a part to play in the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, the purpose in his death was so much bigger than they could have even fathomed!
Because the redemption won this night on that cruel tree was also for me.…and it was for you.
Jesus died, not just at the hands of a few, but because of the sins of us all….
Oh friends, it’s so much easier to identify the shortcomings of others than in ourselves! At least for me, anyway. But to downplay my need for salvation, not just in the big, eternal, capital “S” way, but in the day to day, laying down my pride and will to take on the heart of a servant way, is to minimize the miracle that really took place on Good Friday.
The eternity-changing act of surrender and sacrifice Jesus made out of love for us cost him everything, and because of it, love wins, and we have hope!
That is what I am taking from this year’s reflection of Good Friday.
That, and the powerful reminder of how deeply I am loved and how much I truly love Jesus in return.
It’s not our favorite part of Holy Week, certainly not the easiest…but let’s linger here with Jesus just a moment longer, while he does the supernatural work we could never do for ourselves.
Because of Jesus,