Good Friday Meditation

This is the way leading to the Father, this the rock, the fold, the key; He is the Shepherd, the Sacrifice; the Door of knowledge, by which entered Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the whole company of prophets, and the pillars of the world, the apostles, and the spouse of Christ; for whom, instead of a dowry, He poured out his own blood, that He might redeem her. –Ignatius of Antioch, AD 107

It is significant that these words, taken from one of Ignatius’ letters to a Christian church, were written as the bishop was on his way to Rome to be martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. “This” refers to Jesus Christ, the way to the Father. How fitting that Ignatius should speak of the One who opened the way to the Father through suffering as he himself was suffering in Christ’s footsteps.
Holy Week has been emphasized in some corners of the church, maybe too heavily, as a time to focus on Christ’s sufferings. It is true that some Christians see Christ on the cross and feel guilty because they have not done enough for him when he did so much for them. This misses the character of the cross as the agent of freedom from the curse of the law through Christ who became a curse for us.
Many other churches, however, in reaction, have tended to avoid observance of Holy Week altogether because it is too “negative.” All that talk of suffering tends to weigh us down. They want to focus solely on the resurrection on Easter Sunday morning and the joy and light it brings.

I contend, however, that without reflecting seriously on the suffering and death of Christ, we risk cheapening the celebration of his resurrection. His resurrection conquered sin and death, but it was his death that paid the price for that sin. His resurrection gave us victory (1 Cor. 15:57), but only because his death was a “sin offering” (Romans 8:3). In focusing on the suffering of Christ during Holy Week we see the heinousness of sin for what it truly is–a death sentence hanging over our heads that could only be overturned by a Death Sentence pronounced on him. As we hear the sayings of Christ on the cross on Good Friday, we agonize over our sin that caused Christ’s agony. As a result, when we gather on Resurrection morning, we revel in the Good News that is truly, richly, dazzlingly good because it is set against the backdrop of what is hideously dark and evil. How can we appreciate the light unless we have experienced the darkness?

Come join us tonight at 6:30 for our service of Tenebrae (darkness) and soak up the good news of the gospel through the confronting of the bad news of our sin. Invite a friend to join you. Nursery is available for children through age 3.


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