And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15, verse 39.
Today is Good Friday. I recently saw a BC comic strip that beleaguered why the day on which Jesus was murdered was called “Good Friday.” One character couldn’t see the good in that. Another of the characters responded (to the effect) ‘if you were going to die on that day and he volunteered to take your place, how would you feel?’ “Good,” replied the first man…to which the second walked away saying, “have a nice day.”
The centurion understood why it was called Good Friday. If you consider the simple enormity of what God Himself did for you and me, you’ll understand it as well.
Take me. Yesterday I attended a Seder at my church here in Texas. It’s a concept that my wife and I had been doing for most of a decade that we introduced to our church in North Texas. At another Seder in the same place exactly seven years ago, I first met the woman with whom, later that year, I would stray. I guess she and her husband had been attending our church for awhile but I really never noticed them until she came up and effusively thanked me for sponsoring the event. Her personal life was a disaster; mine was struggling. Over the next few months we became friends, then more, then all hell broke loose. When it was over, we had destroyed two families, so many people were hurt, and I haven’t hosted a Seder meal since.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on that yesterday and last evening. Sure, it was awkward, but the woman moved somewhere else long ago, so I’m thankful it wasn’t more awkward. My wife had left me, but we eventually reconciled and came back stronger. My kids were distraught and despised me for what I’d done to their mom and our family, but we’ve built back as we’ve grown into something wonderful. I lost a great many friends who didn’t want to have anything to do with a cheating dirty dog like I was, but I’ve made many more since. I was caught cheating red-handed, but I was able to really repent of that and change. My sins were public, destructive, and cut to the heart of what it means to be a Christian, but since then I’ve served in other ways as a church leader, as a struggling believer, and even in sharing this blog, these words.
It’s all because of Good Friday. It’s all because of the sacrifice that the centurion witnessed. It’s all because of the thing done for us that the comic strip described.
It’s contrary to human nature to forgive, but that’s what Jesus’ death means for us. It’s unusual that people will be able to move past the moment when you egregiously hurt or offend them, but that’s one thing that Jesus’ death means for us. It’s impossible for any of us perfectly atone for the unholy sins that we enthusiastically do and escape the holy wrath of a holy Father, but that’s what Jesus’ death means for us.
It’s all because Jesus died that we can stand before, with, and beside God, the Three in One, and live forever. It’s all because of what happened on Good Friday…because Good Friday gave way to Easter Sunday.
Thank You my Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for me.
Read Mark 15, verses 16-47.