What does this day really mean? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
My wife and I lately have been watching biblical movies on the Gospel Music Channel. I don’t really care for Gospel Music any more, and frankly I don’t care for much Contemporary Christian Music either, but by and large I find the movies can give an interesting look, though I regularly do state that a lot of liberties are being taken with the text.
The great danger that can happen with the movies is often we will see something like Moses parting the Red Sea and think “Wow! Isn’t that fascinating!” and go on our way. We can think it an act of special effects much like the X-Men or Iron Man performing an action. The film crew makes it look so real that we do in fact often lose sight of the fact that it is real.
If we watch a movie like “The Passion of the Christ” we can often forget that what we are watching is in fact history. This really happened. When we see something on TV, it often does not impress on us the way that it really should. For an example of this, which do you think would be more striking in your mind. Seeing 9-11 happen on television or if you had been in New York City and saw it happen yourself?
Our images we have of the crucifixion cannot do it justice. I recall being in a chat room on AOL when the Passion was about to come out and some one came in who was saying they were upset because they made the crucifixion so graphic. (Apparently, they saw a preview of the film) I replied that in reality, they could not show the crucifixion the way it really was. This person was astounded and in disbelief.
We often see Jesus on the cross and the skin is still well intact on His body. It would not have been so in reality. Chances are you would have very easily seen the internal organs of our Lord. It would have been a sight that would have made the bloodiest horror film of our day receive only a G rating in comparison. This was an action so vile most in society would dare not even mention its name. It was the most shameful act that could be done to someone who opposed the Roman Empire.
And yet, we call today “Good Friday?” One can think of the small child immediately who would ask “Why would you say the day Jesus died is good?”
The child is entirely right to ask the question. The sad reality is that the adult usually doesn’t bother. In our society, we have our holidays mixed up. People start shopping months in advance for Christmas. We have Christmas music and Christmas stores and Christmas vacations and people going back and forth from state to state to celebrate Christmas.
On Easter, we have very little. There is little exchange of gifts and Easter vacations are not common.
Biblically however, Easter is the most important of the holidays. Of course, you could not have Easter without Christmas, but if all we had was the birth of Jesus and no resurrection, we would not even be celebrating the birth of Jesus at all. It would have been a failure. Chances are, no one today would know who Jesus was if He had not risen from the dead.
We must look at who Jesus was in His time. I will not argue for this now as other blogs of mine have done such, but Jesus was the divine incarnation of God Himself living amongst us and bringing about the Kingdom. He was the Messiah sent to redeem the world from what had happened to it and restore it to the Father.
Now when we see Jesus in this way, we can only see the crucifixion in one of two ways which makes Jesus so extraordinary. The first way is that Jesus was a wicked blasphemer and as C.S. Lewis would say, the very devil out of hell. If that was the case, then the crucifixion was the most righteous act of all that put to death the most wicked man who ever lived.
Suppose instead we orthodox Christians are right. Jesus was the second person of the Trinity visiting His people. The people He came to did not receive Him and instead crucified Him. If that is the case, then the crucifixion was the most wicked act of all that put to death the most righteous man who ever lived.
Of course, Christians hold to the latter. Why do we call this Good Friday then? Because we know this is when Christ began dealing the death blow to the powers that be. Paul says this in Colossians 2. The powers did not shame Jesus on the cross and make a spectacle of Him. Instead, He shamed them on the cross and made a spectacle of them.
This good Friday period ends with the resurrection, but right now, we are at the turning point in the story that has been being built for us from the Old Testament. History is going somewhere and right now, it is going upwards because Christ has risen and He is taking creation with Him to reach that fullness. Good Friday is the start and throughout this weekend, we will see how it ends.