All For You
Part Four of an Eight-Part Series of Reflections on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.
On Good Friday we stand face-to-face with the cost of our sin. We come humbly to the foot of the cross and remember how Jesus paid the price willingly. Not for some random person in the world, but for us. Specifically and especially for us.
As we enter on Good Friday, the church is barren. The tabernacle is open and empty. The holy water is gone. The altar is stripped and bare.
This is the day that all seemed lost. For the disciples of Jesus, this was not what they expected. The Messiah who entered Jerusalem to cheering crowds was taken in the night, tried, found guilty, and killed in the cruelest and most disgraceful manner possible for the time.
As bleak as it seems, we are reminded that this was part of the plan all along.
Wouldn’t we all love to be able to tell the future? The first reading, taken from the book of Isaiah, was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, yet it tells us so much about what happened on Good Friday.
In Isaiah, God’s servant will prosper and be greatly exalted, but he will be spurned and stricken. He will be counted among the wicked, cut off from the land of the living, and pierced for our offenses. Yet “through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear… he shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.” (Isaiah 53:11, 12)
Isaiah has many chapters filled with details about this day. Details that explain how Jesus will offer Himself for our sin, and how that offering will be effective and transformative.
This is the first step on our way to the cross. As it is brought out and revealed, we see the suffering that Jesus endured for us. We approach the cross, one by one. We don’t look on from a distance. This is personal.
It may be difficult and uncomfortable. We may not be able to face the cruelty that Jesus suffered, and we may not be able to comprehend the love it took to stay on the cross, but hopefully, we will hear that we are forgiven. We will see that we are worth everything that Jesus could give.
And then, as the disciples did, we wait.