Good Friday is a day of paradoxes. Even the name and what happened on this day almost 2000 years ago don't seem at first to go together. This day juxtaposes unmatched or opposing themes in many ways.
- Jesus is King, but not the kind of king the Jews expected. His kingdom is not of this world. The Jews didn't want Pilate to call Jesus king on the plaque above Him on the cross, but He had it written anyway. Ironically, Pilate, who condemned Jesus to death, proclaimed Him king to all the world. The statement read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" in three languages: in Hebrew for the Jews, in Greek for the Gentiles and in Latin for the Roman Empire.
- Jesus, the Lord of Life, suffers and dies. Jesus lived to die so that we may die to live.
- The cross is an instrument of torture, but we venerate it because we know this isn't the end of the story. We still have the Resurrection to come.
- Jesus is alive because He died. the Father raised Him up because He was faithful.
- Jesus IS King because He lowered Himself and submitted to suffering and death.
- Jesus wants to show us the way beyond suffering by enduring it.
- The instrument of death becomes the instrument of Life. We cling to the cross because it brings us salvation.
- Through Jesus' suffering, our personal pain is united to the anguish of all the world.
- Jesus turns failure into victory and so failure does not lead to despair. The promise of His failure is victory.
- Jesus became sin to free us from slavery to sin in that it was nailed to the cross.
- The king's crown is a diadem of thorns.
- The Cross is the throne of Grace. It is the seat of Jesus' reign - where He rules from. We can approach Jesus on the throne of Grace with great confidence because nothing can possibly stand in the way of His mercy.
- Our very weakness is where Jesus is strong.
Jesus' Seven Last Words - a meditation
1. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
- When are we "they"?
- Compassion leads Jesus to forgiveness of His persecutors.
Oh Source of our Gladness, free us in mercy and heal where our sins have wounded.
2. "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
- For the thief who admitted his guilt, mercy is given.
- That day, the good thief stole heaven.
Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom!
3. "Woman behold your son. . . . Behold, your mother!"
- Who can grasp Mary's grief?
- Who can grasp Jesus grief for His own mother at the foot of the cross?
- What can He do for her? He gives us to her and her to us.
At the cross, her station keeping, Mary gazed upon her Son.
4. "Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabachthani. My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?"
- No suffering of Jesus was worse that the abandonment He felt.
- On the cross, Jesus walked in the very absence of God.
- There is not despair that God has not been there before us and can meet us there.
Jesus, all Grace supplying, O, turn Your face on me.
5. "I thirst"
- The cross is an instrument of torture upon time is endless. A second turns into minutes that turn into hours. Time cannot be measured
- Water, to a crucified man, is life.
- Jesus may have been praying Psalm 63: "For You, my soul thirsts."
- Thirst is a cry for life - a cry for God. Do we dare share His thirst?
Jesus, I thirst for you.
6. "It is finished."
- After seemingly endless pain, the end comes. But Jesus cries out in triumph that He endured until the end. He is victorious - His mission accomplished.
- Heaven is opened.
- The Church will carry on what He began.
- Jesus undid what Adam and Eve did so long ago.
What wondrous love is this? I will sing!
7. "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit."
- Jesus gasps one last breath to cry out this one last time. What was the point? He wanted us to follow His example. Despite everything, Jesus entrusts all that gives His life meaning to His Father.
- Can we entrust our lives completely to the One Who was at the creation of the world? ...to the One Who laid down carpenter's tools for a cross.
Were you there? Sometimes, it causes me to tremble
"Upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole."