It’s that time of year. I see them everywhere: Jewelry, bumper stickers, billboards, church advertisements, artwork, tattoos and FaceBook. So commonplace is the cross I fear it’s become trivial. Has the story of Christ's crucifixion become so familiar that it has lost its ability to stir any emotion?
At the crux of the Jesus’ execution is injustice. The evil conspiracy, kangaroo court, mock trial, mob frenzy and the release of a murderer facilitating the murder of the Messiah. The scourging, the thorny crown, the nails, the tortuous thirst, the agonizing rejection, the abject humiliation, the nakedness and unbearable forsakenness - all were part of history’s most miscarried justice. No wonder the Father turned off the light that day.
It’s an umbrage to neglect, gloss over, fail to appreciate or take for granted Christ's work of redemption. The passion of the Christ is what the lens of the Bible forces the reader to see. All things recorded in the Hebrew Bible declare our need for this redemptive sacrifice. Jesus’ words compel his hearers to grasp their need for salvation apart from law and works. Every New Testament writer obligates those following Jesus to live a life worthy of His sacrifice that day. I will never agree to call it Good Friday. What do you imagine those in heaven have named that day? “Dark Friday” comes to my mind.
In this year’s Easter sermon I will ask the question of who is responsible for the slaughter of the Savior. We will relive mankind’s most awful injustice investigating those who played a direct role in Jesus’ execution. If you have already read the narratives, perhaps your answers are , “The Romans did it!” or “The Jewish leaders killed the Christ.” or simply, “Its Satan’s fault!” then you and your guest will be startled when you hear this message. Deeper study reveals a stunning truth not well known.
This refreshing look will remind us just what the Cross was all about: the dreadful price the Lord of Glory paid on our behalf to satisfy the holy justice of God. Nails did not hold Jesus on those bloody timbers, but His great love for us and His total obedience to the Father. At the foot of the Cross its impossible to trivialize it. It’s in that exact moment the unparalleled triumph of God’s sovereignty reminds us of Jesus’ words, “I will rise again.”
When sobered by Dark Friday, my hope grows in the reminder that Sunday is coming...