It has been said and written some thousands of times: Good Friday comes before Easter.
How often and sure, normal it is to want to skip right through to Easter. Believe me, this reality is more real to me as I age, but it was of course present when I was young as well.
“Getting it over with” is not a synonym for any of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians chapter five! Nope.
Love, joy, peace, patience (!), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? Nada. Simply blowing through and past difficulties in life means “not learning much at all”.
I often mention the word Jesus uses for “disciple” means “a listener, learner”, and unless we pay attention to God and others (yes, God indeed tells us things via other people as well as directly, via His Word the Bible, etc.) we often simply regress and default to a “getting it over with” life.
What sort of facial expression do you see when you read such words? A smile? An expression of peace? The face of a kind, compassionate servant? Maybe a frown or teeth-gritting anger?
Oh yes, I too have a mirror and have had to face “speed bumps” and even “off-road blowouts” in my journey. So have you- or you sure enough will, trust me on this!
So what do we do, who do we go to, how do we navigate getting nailed to the cross on Friday? How do we get to Easter morning and resurrection?
Jesus “set His face like a flint”, pushing on ahead to a Jerusalem He full well knew would applaud Him on what we call “palm Sunday”… and ultimately reject Him next weekend.
1. Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
GK- On earth -and- in heaven, Jesus present with we who believe and follow Him, God the Holy Spirit giving us the COMFORT and power to:
lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us
GK- Most of us carry more than we should (metaphor alert!) and at times make unwise choices that burden us, as well as just sin, choose those things that God calls “missing the mark”, wasting our time and ourselves on rubbish, then by these, get tangled up and pulled under.
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us
GK- And that is the only way to make it through the long walk over many miles, years and rough nights. God fully knows what is happening though we do not- and Jesus fully knew what was coming His way and STILL out of love, love and love, faced and took the pain.
looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher, Pioneer and Perfecter of faith
GK- There is NO better example of servant-love, faith, obedience than Jesus Christ, and Good Friday is only “good” due to Him and these truths.
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross
GK- Ahhhh, so, could we please move past this?? Sure, I get it, but the answer is, much of the time, “No, not just yet. Trust and obey Me, look to ME and be radiant” rather than quick deliverance. Things grow in the valley, not on the mountaintop.
despising its shame
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
GK- I can hear some reader’s minds shouting: “Hey, THEY LIED, HE or SHE WWWWWRRRRROOOONNNNNGGGGGEEEEDDDD AND HURT, HURT, HURT ME, WHERE WAS GOD THEN, HUH??!!!” Jesus did not say it as such, but for one moment on the cross instead cried out “God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?!” Hmmm… I wonder why He asked a question He surely knew the answer to: for love of us. He also said while crucified in the place of an actual, guilty murderer and dying between two thieves: “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” Think on that, especially the first line…
Jesus is the despised one yet He Himself despised and rejected the shame with regard to what his enemies did to Him! What they thought of Him was not -in one sense-, the issue in terms of them causing His suffering, rather out of love for the Father and for THEM (you, me dear reader!) He accepted the undeserved suffering. He, unlike us, in no way deserved the rejection, the cross, the extreme pain. Bad Friday? No. Good. Easter is coming.
He now sits at the right hand of God in His glory, the glory few seemed to recognize on Good Friday, though a very few caught a glimpse. A Roman soldier exclaimed “Truly, this must be the Son of God!” Jesus “entrusted Himself to One who judges justly”. Do we? Or do we just despise the whole experience and perhaps even get bitter toward God and “our enemies”?
Our “rightful place” is coming, and though this is often far “off the charts” in the middle of our grief- it ALL has to do with His grace and love toward us.
For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you don’t grow weary, fainting in your souls.
GK- Plenty rough moments in life have nothing to do with others, rather with ourselves, circumstances, weather, our physical bodily ailments, disease, etc. while certainly a fair bit of pain comes via our relationships (at times wrecked, codependent, sinful, hurtful).
“Oh if My people would LISTEN to Me…” from the Psalms…
We all get weary, sometimes we faint, we just want Friday to END. I understand. Me too at times.
Remember this: EASTER IS COMING.
Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn