Friday, April 22, 2011

"Good" Friday?

It's hard not to become calloused to words we hear over and over again. Whether you're a Christian or not, you've probably heard the name Jesus used in more contexts than you can count. It's almost like He's become a concept that gets thrown around between political parties, pet causes, hobby horses and angry radicals. I think it can be hard for those inside and outside the church to know who Jesus really is and what "being a Christian" is all about.

Good Friday reminded me. It reminded me that Christianity is actually the opposite of what so many think it is. I'll explain. Most religions believe that man is morally flawed. Watch the news and we find that pretty easy to accept, right? But the solution, according to "religion" is that we should therefore try to do good things to make up for the bad we've done. So when someone sees a billboard (I actually saw this today in Dallas) that says in large letters "turn from sin and follow Jesus" they probably think, "I need to stop doing bad things, clean myself up and start doing things to please God in order to get right with Him."

Good Friday reminded me that the only problem with that idea is the Gospel itself. The message of Easter is that we can't get right with God. We can't clean ourselves up and do enough "good things" to please God. And God, knowing that, does the most unimaginable thing possible. He does it for us.

He comes to where we are and takes on our flesh. He subjects Himself to our weakness, pain, and disease. He not only lowers Himself to be in our physical presence and take on our limited, creaturely form, but He washes our feet. He loves us perfectly and lives before God perfectly. And then He willingly takes death in our place. As a result, we are given His life.

Just let that sink in. Who would think up a God that humbles Himself by going down to His creation and letting their dirty, broken filth get on Him? Who would think up a God who would take His own justice onto Himself for the sake of His creatures? It's about as unnatural as thinking that I can't be the solution to my own problem. But that's the Gospel! I can't save me, and I can't please God. But Christ can, and He has. And He did it for me.

That's what it's called "Good Friday."


NvrlndTnk-Nia Rhein said...

it's SO true! I think it's so difficult to even make sense of sometimes because the nature of this utter sacrifice is seemingly so unnatural and foreign to us. But, at the same time, I think God has actually made it very present in our daily lives.

Do you remember once when we talked in Bible Study about God being both mother and father? I think we were looking at early verses on creation in Genesis, connecting them to conversations on relationships. And Stephanie talked a bit about God's vision for the role of women in the world. I was reminded of this when I read your post because Christ's sacrifice by God is such a maternal image isn't it? Our moms are so often the ones who do the dirty work when we are ill, who hold up tissues to our noses when we are young and sick with colds, caring for us without any concern for their own imperfect immune systems. My voice teacher here told me once that she understood the depths to which she loved her children when she told one of them to throw up in her lap once when he got sick in the middle of a concert when he was 5 years old. They couldn't get out of the pew in time and she just held out her skirt in the middle of this concert she was performing! "That", she said, "is love." I laughed a lot in disbelief when she was recalling this performer's horror story to me, but i was also completely amazed by her mother's sacrifice. And the way she tells it you can see that there is absolutely no regret, and that she didn't even consider the humility it took to be so selfless for the sake of her child. She did it because it needed to be done, and because she loved him so deeply and wanted to care for him, to literally take on his sickness so he could be made better and healed.

Megan said...

Nia, my mom was the same way. Whenever I was sick as a little kid, she told me, "I wish I could take this away from you and feel it instead." If she could have, she would have, but she is only human. Jesus, being more than human, COULD take on all our yuckiness and DID do it!