At the Cross: Three Points of View
A short meditation for Good Friday:
For some, today looked like chaos. An angry, ugly mob finally turned on a man from Nazareth who had aspirations of something greater. Having brought Him to Pilate, this mob finally got their way. For those who were following this man, this was unthinkable. He had healed the sick, raised the dead Himself, and had been confirmed by so many signs that the idea of Him going to the cross was unthinkable. And He was crushed. And along with Him, their hopes.
God can take our chaos and crushed dreams and make something beautiful.
For one man, this day was the culmination of everything he deserved. He had spent his life stealing, swindling, and escaping the law. His life benefited no one, only took took from those who surrounded him. He deserved this day. He deserved to find himself on this cross. His sins brought him here. But next to him was a man he had never met before, gasping for the same air he was trying to swallow. Between the pain and not being able to breathe, somewhere he had a revelation that this man dying next to him was more than a man. He confronted the mocker on a third cross and called out to the One in the middle of them. He heard that One, that “more than a man” whisper to him “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
God can take the worst of us in horrible situations and change our lives.
Post the cross, first hundreds, then thousands, and then millions have accepted the reality of the cross and the man who rested on it. The meaning of this day, looked back on throughout history has become a point of both deep grief and deep relief. That Jesus lost his life on that cross was the beginning of God’s plan to liberate us from our sin and the enemy of our souls. But for the first believers and those that have followed in their steps, this day has not only become a day to celebrate but an example to follow. This became a day that not only defined our freedom from sin, but a freedom from the way this world would seek to control us.
God can take this day and not just forgive us, but define us.
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
-Paul, Philippians 2:5-11