Tag Archives: Good Friday

Greater Love

Greater love has no man, but to lay down his life for a friend.

Regardless of your faith, religion, or decision against, we all can appreciate this statement.

To Christians, Jesus took on all of our imperfections and died in compensation for all of us.

But there are others to whom this applies. Many have laid down their lives.

God knows, over the past twelve years there have been ample opportunities for young men and women to fall on a grenade or take a bullet for a comrade.

Yet, it does not always require death. Then there are the parents, especially many single parents, who put their own lives aside to provide for their children; not to merely provide essentials, but to prioritized a school event when they’re dead tired or to have more modest meals to allow for a school ring or a yearbook.

How many adults juggle both care of their children and care of their parents?

And what does this mean?

All of these things are heroic, and yet none of them are. We are merely following the example set by Jesus, our Savior. We are called to express our love for others above our love for ourselves.

So, on this Good Friday evening when Jesus was laid in the tomb, in earthly terms to rest; in celestial terms to prepare for the next phase. In any case, to be “put away” in one form, yet to return in another that is more, beautiful, more powerful, more wonderful, with the promise that His next return will be beyond comprehension.

With all that in mind, share a greater love, to someone, in some way. Call someone you loved, with whom you haven’t spoken in a while. Tell a family member what wonderful attributes they have.

You know what to do.

And, as you do, prepare for the stone to be rolled back from the empty tomb and share in the joy.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let His face shine upon you. May the Lord look upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord bless you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Misnamed Religious Days?

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane  1746   Pinacoteca, Vatican City, Vatican

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane 1746
Pinacoteca, Vatican City, Vatican

It seems odd that we call this Holy Week. After all, it’s a week when everything seems to have fallen apart.

“Holy Thursday” – Jesus asks for Peter, James and John to pray with him, but they fall asleep. He’s betrayed by one of his closest followers. Those charged with representing His Father are the ones orchestrating His demise. His trusted right-hand man denies Him.

“Good Friday” – Jesus is tortured, humiliated, abandoned and condemned to a death reserved for slaves who threaten the emperor. His own people don’t so much choose Barabbas to live as condemn Jesus to die.

“Holy Saturday” – The hope for the world lays cold and dead in a sepulchure.

But, as God told Samuel as he looked at each of Jesse’s sons, and as Jesus told Peter – God sees things differently than we do and His thoughts are not like ours. The week is Holy because it unfolded according to God’s plan – not ours.

Sundown, Good Friday

PietaMichelangelo Buonarroti1499

Pieta
Michelangelo Buonarroti
1499

Satan had never been particularly fond of sundown on Friday, since it marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps, two millennia ago he was more comfortable because the Sabbath had become a burden, rather than a cause for joy. The Pharisees had defined most activities, including how far you could walk before you were violating the Sabbath. It was a set of complicated rules rather than a day of rest.

This particular Friday had to be especially disconcerting. Satan had seen Jesus ridiculed, beaten, abused, and tortured. No doubt this pleased him while simultaneously frightening him. Even he knew that things were not as they seemed. He had to wonder what was going to happen.

Many believe that when Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” was the point at which Jesus took on all the sins of the world. For the first time in eternity Jesus was not completely connected with the Father and it was terrifying and disorienting.

At that moment, Satan saw countless souls he had seduced, cajoled, lied to, and threatened slip through his very fingers. The justice they deserved was now paid in full, and they were reunited with God.

Jesus told us He had the ability to lay down His life and pick it up again. I think that once He had paid our debt, His job was done and He laid his life down. It was His choice to save us, and His choice to return the Father.

Satan had known from the very beginning that his quest was unachievable, but his ego was such that he continued anyway. I’m sure that even with our redemption, his arrogance demanded that he redouble his efforts. Even today you can see his efforts.

But it doesn’t matter. We have been saved. We have been forgiven. We are loved by our God and by His only begotten Son.

Give thanks. It is right and just.