It’s Good Friday. It’s tempting to rush by today in order to get to the resurrection. The more familiar the story, the more tempting it is to breeze past… I know this, I’ve seen this, and I’ve read this before. Perhaps it’s not the sense of familiarity, but rather it’s the ugliness of this day that we’re quick to move beyond. We don’t like to linger on the humiliation and torture of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is an ugly day. We’re prone to sanitize it or quickly move beyond it in order to get to the morning of the resurrection.
Throughout this Lenten season, I’ve been drawn to meditate on the humiliation and abusiveness of this day, to more deeply consider what Jesus endured as He expressed His great love for us. Jesus was spat upon. He was mocked. He was hit and slapped. He was stripped naked. He was scourged. If we had been eye witnesses of His torture, I’m quite sure we would have been unable to forget the horrendous things we had watched being carried out; the terrible scenes would have been etched into our memories. There’s a temptation to sanitize the suffering of Jesus and quickly move past His humiliation.
We live in a world of suffering and brokenness. We know abuse. We know mocking. We know violence. We know hatred and contempt. We are not alone. Jesus knows the depths of our suffering. Jesus knows the depths of betrayal and isolation. Jesus knows the disgrace of humiliation. Good Friday reminds us and it shows us that Jesus knows and understands our suffering. In ways that make us uncomfortable, Good Friday proves to us the truth of Isaiah 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Don’t rush past this day and miss what Jesus wants to reveal to you through His suffering. Don’t sanitize His passion in an effort to shield yourself from what He had to endure for you and for me. Hear the hateful words. Hear the sounds of closed fists against His head. Hear the scornful mocking and laughing at His nakedness and vulnerability. Listening to the sound of the whip tear at the flesh of His back.
It’s in His suffering that we find the full expression of His love for us. It’s in His suffering that we see the great lengths He went to in order to save us and redeem us. It’s in His suffering that we understand that we are not alone in our suffering.
CGGC eNews—Vol. 13, No. 16