Good news on Good Friday
Tomorrow is Good Friday.
We call the day “Good” but it would have seemed to be anything but that to Jesus’ first followers. For them, this day marked the tragic undoing of all their dreams. When Jesus was buried in the tomb, their hopes were buried there alongside him.
Our vantage point on this side of Easter affords us a fuller perspective. We know that, though everything seemed to be falling apart that day, the cross was actually solid ground from which God’s new creation took root in the world. And Jesus? Far from being just a victim of Roman cruelty, he proved to be the Victor, defeating the power of darkness by entering into the very heart of it.
This is the good news of Good Friday.
And it is good news for each of us. For we all know our own share of failure and faithlessness! Like the disciples, we may have denied or deserted Jesus at times; we might know the guilt of promises made and quickly broken. Too often, our spirits are willing, but our bodies prove weak.
This is a lot to carry: the weight, the shame!
Amazingly, Jesus bids us to lay it down.
“Father, forgive them . . .”
These are among the final words Jesus utters from the cross. Faced with the mockery of the crowds and the failure of the disciples, Jesus doesn’t cry out for God to pay back everyone what they deserve; instead, he seeks their forgiveness . . . their good. He doesn’t retaliate against us; he mediates for us.
This is beautifully captured by poet Malcolm Guite:
Father forgive, and so forgiveness flows;
Flows from the very wound our hatred makes,
Flows through the taunts, the curses and the blows,
Flows through our wasted world, a healing spring,
Welling and cleansing, washing all the marks
Away, the scores and scars of every wrong.
May the good news of Good Friday settle over your heart and soul tomorrow. And may you sense Jesus’ healing forgiveness “washing all the marks away, the scores and scars of every wrong.”