Pastor’s pondering

Good Friday.  What’s so “good” about it?  Jesus was arrested, persecuted, beaten, hung on a cross, stabbed with a spear, and died right in front of his mother and friends.  Sounds like a tale of horror more than anything good, doesn’t it?

Now, there are countless accounts of what makes this day so good.  We could go on and on about this, that and the other.  Yet, here is what really hit me as I was preparing for the service that we will have this evening.  As I was reading Mark 14:32 – 15:47, Mark’s account of this day from the time Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane to Joseph rolling the stone over the doorway to the tomb, something jumped out at me.  Good Friday is not just a story about Jesus.  Instead, it is a story about all of us; all of us can be found somewhere in the characters of that day.

Perhaps we’re like James and John, praying with Jesus in the hours before dawn, knowing what is to take place, but still questioning whether we can move forward with it.  Perhaps we’re like the crowd that followed Judas into the garden, seeking out someone that is different than us, hoping to cast them aside and end what we think has been the source of our pain and misery.  Perhaps we’re like the council, uttering false testimony against someone so that our side might be seen as the right one.  Perhaps we’re like Peter, denying our relationships in moments of difficulty instead of relying on the connections we have made over months and years.  Perhaps we’re like Pilate, trying to appease the crowd, or like Simon of Cyrene, carrying someone else’s cross.  Perhaps, when the moment arises and the darkness falls, we’re like the centurion, staring up at the cross and realizing that this really is The Son of God.  Perhaps we’re like Joseph of Arimathea, stepping out against tradition and making bold requests so that a need might be met.  Perhaps we’re like Mary, watching, taking it all in, and wondering as the door to the tomb closes.

Someone once told me that for everything out there in the world, for every one of us in every situation we find ourselves in, we will find it in the words of the Bible.  There we will find someone who has dealt with what we have had to deal with, someone who has felt what we are feeling, someone who has said what we have said.  And, I think, that is true in just these eighty or so verses recounting a single day in Jesus’s life.  When we really stop and think about it, in some way or another we were there.  The emotions, thoughts, actions, and prayers we have today, people were having right then and there as it was happening.  And that testifies to how real it was.  It’s not just a story.  It’s not just some words written down from millennia gone by.  It is a testimony about us, and that is good.  It is good because it helps us understand how real it is, how real God is.

I pray you will join us this evening as we recall these events and these people, because I think then you will really see how real it is and how good it is.

                                                                        Pastor Steve

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