Do you hurt? Do you suffer? We’ve all seen the world and felt the pain and injustice of the uncaring, ruthless universe we live in. What was it for you? A loved one dying slowly and painfully? A child lost? The sudden absence of that person who kept you going? Or maybe the loss of a job? The world seeming to tell you you’re not good enough? What is it for you? It doesn’t even have to be that close to home, does it? Sometimes just watching the news is enough to know that this is not the way it should be, that this world just isn’t fair, isn’t “right”. And so the question comes, where is God in all this?
The end of March is, what we in the church call, “Holy Week”. Central to Holy Week, central the whole church calendar, central to the whole Christian faith, comes Good Friday (and Easter Sunday, but you’ll have to wait for the April magazine for that!). Good Friday. The day where we remember Jesus dying on the cross.
The cross. We see crosses all the time. We see them on churches, around necks, even as tattoos. We’re so used to it that we fail to be surprised by it. But the cross was a form of torture and execution. A method of inflicting death that was so gruesome, so barbaric as to be illegal to carry out on Roman citizens. What would you think if you saw someone with a gallows around their neck, or saw an electric chair decorating the top of a building? This is the cross.
But if we’ve tamed the cross, it’s nothing compared to what we’ve done with the image of Jesus hanging on it.
GOD. Almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing GOD. The creator GOD. The GOD who created everything, from the tiniest quarks (that’s smaller than atoms) to the spiralling galaxies. GOD, who commands time and space with the merest flicker of his will. This is our indescribable, unfathomable God … and he is hanging on a cross!
As blood ran down the harsh roughness of the wooden cross “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).
When it comes to suffering, God is not immune. God is not a detached observer. God knows what it means to suffer. God enters into the very depths of the pain of this world. Whatever else we accuse God of being, in relation to suffering, we cannot claim he doesn’t know what it’s like. God did not let himself off the hook.
But even more importantly, when we look out at this suffering, hurting world and, understandably, want to know why God does nothing about it, we must remember that HE HAS DONE SOMETHING ABOUT IT! On the cross Jesus Christ takes on all the pain, suffering and hurt that this world has to offer and he defeats it. He has done this already and one day everything will be brought into this new creation power. And today you are invited to join in.
Jesus Christ died for the whole world. But while it is true that Jesus died for all of us, it is also true that he would have died for just one of us … for just you.
God bless you all this Good Friday