Growing up, I wasn’t a badly behaved child, I had my moments but all in all I didn’t get in that much trouble. When I did get into trouble however? It devastated me. Not necessarily because I felt bad at what I did, I just couldn’t stand the idea of someone being upset with me. It made me go cold to the touch, even if the disappointment and upset was well deserved. At school or at home, I couldn’t cope with getting in trouble. But worse? I hated being reminded of what I did. For example, If id forgotten to do a piece of homework and my teacher wrote a note in my book it would bother me until I got a new book. Once in my early teenage years, I slammed the oven door shut and it completely shattered. The glass that covered the oven broke completely, into literal smithereens. We didn’t have an abundance of cash at the time so we had to wait a significant period of time before we could get it fixed, and every single time I walked past this oven it reminded me of what I had done. And for 11/12 year old me that was horrific. Not just because I knew it was my fault, everyone else knew it was my fault too. The consequences of my actions were perfectly justified, but it was the constant reminder even months after that I found the hardest.
It’s a bit of a strange intro I know, but over the years and as I’ve become an adult I’ve realised that how I feel when I do things wrong has bled into other areas of my life. I’m not breaking ovens anymore or forgetting to do my homework, but I do wrong things all the time. I worry, I judge, I lie. I run out of patience, I get angry, I’m unkind. I don’t see the best in people, the list goes on forever. The only problem is, the majority of the time, there isn’t a physical reminder of these things that I’ve done wrong.
Until good Friday comes around...
The Facebook posts about how Jesus bled and died for me. How he hung on a cross and was dead in a tomb. How he was pierced for me and whipped and beaten. The Instagram posts detailing that he was suffocating with every breath while hanging on the cross. While his arms would have been dragging out of their sockets. While his feet were bent into an unnatural position to accommodate a nail through the bone and through the tissue. Putting his full weight on the nail though his feet in order to push himself up to get a second of relief from the stretching and lack of oxygen to his lungs. While being able to inhale but not physically being able to exhale. While the lack of oxygen to his blood made it thick and difficult to pump. After he died and his ribs were pierced, blood and water came out. Without boring you with the science this means that Jesus didn’t suffocate, he died of heart failure. He literally died of a broken heart, for me. Because of what I did. And good Friday reminds me all too well of that. The cross, reminds me all too well of that.
But this year, something changed. I read the story differently and you should too. Yes it was my fault, yes without sin he wouldn’t have had to endure what he did. Yes it was all for us, but it was FOR us. The magnitude of what Jesus did on this good Friday stretches far beyond the suffering he endured. He did this willingly, we needed him and so he came to us. From paradise, from literal heaven he came down to get to us. Was he terrified? Yes he said he was. But the intense, relentless, overwhelming immeasurable love for us drove him to hang on a tree that was part of HIS creation. While we used the breath HE breathed into us to mock him. While the voices we were created to use for worship were used for the exact opposite. It was all FOR us.
Friends, understanding Good Friday starts with remembering what he chose to do FOR us, not what he had to do because of us. And the craziest part is that we were worth it to him. All of it was completely worth it. There is no regret in what it cost him to purchase your soul, even to the point of death. We don’t have a bible verse today, because it was too hard to choose. Every page every chapter, every line, every word in that precious book, is pointing towards what Jesus did for us, on this GOOD Friday.
The cross doesn’t signify what I deserve anymore. The cross doesn’t have my name on it because it’s being prepared for me. It has my name on it because it’s mine. It’s mine to hold, it’s mine to run to, it’s mine to cry at, it’s mine to leave the troubles of this earth at the foot of. It’s not a place for me to hang my head anymore. The cross of Jesus Christ is the reason I’m alive, his blood has set me free and it will never loose it’s power for me. I borrowed those words from the worship song ‘Mighty Cross’ but the words are so true. The power of the cross can never be lost for you.
Today, don’t be ashamed. Run to the cross as fast, and as often as you can. It has your name on it. Not because it’s for you (punishment) but because it’s FOR you (redemption)
We love you