I don’t like Good Friday. I don’t like what happened on this day almost 2,000 years ago. I’m reminded of why I don’t like it watching the movie: The Passion. It hilights the worst of humanity.
If you’re not a Christian, or if you don’t know the story, Jesus Christ preached a radical message of Love, Compassion, and following God above all else. This message was threatening to many political and religious powers of the day, so many looked for a way to remove Him from power. Judas, one of his closest friends betrayed Him to the Sanhedrien, and they staged a sham of a trial to condemn Him. They found Him guilty of blasphemy and took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Govenor of the region of Judea. Only the Romans could execute the Jewish laws in the way they wanted: to execute Jesus. They got what they wanted. Jesus endured unbelievable pain, humiliation, and abandonment. The Romans beat him with whips and chains, ripped him to a bloody mess of a human being. The Jewish authorities denied who He was and what His message was in order to hold on to what earthly power they had. And ultimately, all of Jesus’ closest friends, his apostles, all abandoned him except John, and he was flat out betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, the closest of the Apostles to Jesus.
We see many of the worst sins all in this story. Betrayal of friends and loved ones, denial of God’s true power, the love of earthly things over Godly things, and the flat out abandonment of that which we should hold most dear. The worst sins that humanity can reach are on full display on Good Friday. The worst sins that I can reach and I have done at different points in my life, are on full display.
I guess that’s why I don’t like Good Friday. It is a direct condemnation of the worst of my sins. I have to own up to all of them in a very intense way on this day. Watching The Passion reminds me of the worst things that I’ve done. It reminds me that it is all of my sins, all the ways that I’ve hurt myself and others, that called for Jesus coming down to Earth to die for me. And I am honestly ashamed that I needed it, and that humanity needed it, and continues to need it. We hung God out to dry on a giant hunk of wood, betrayed Him in doing so, and made Him suffer a fate that no man, regardless of how evil he is, deserves.
For those reasons, I do not enjoy Good Friday. But I recognize how necessary it all is. Because after all we’ve done to God, ourselves, and other people, we cannot be saved any other way than by God’s love. I cannot be saved any other way than through God. I don’t like admitting that, but in this respect, I don’t really have a choice.
The Passion does show some real redeeming pieces of humanity that show potential good. Jesus’ humanity is the biggest sign of that. The other two are Mary and Simon the Cyrenian. Mary cleans up the blood of her son after the scourging. She gives true motherly love in the worst of the situation, seeing him when he falls and helping pick Him up, and doing the hardest thing for a parent, bury her son. The other example of true humanity, though after some convincing, is the guy I see myself as: Simon the Cyrenian. He’s an ordinary guy who was pressed into service to help carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary when He couldn’t do it anymore. Even Jesus needed help. He still does, and that’s our mission today. At one point, Jesus falls, and can’t continue. The guards and people alike rush to hit the lowly Jesus, and Simon refuses to carry the cross any further if they continue to hurt the innocent Jesus. He refused to comply with sin. That’s the sort of approach I want to have in my life.
I don’t like Good Friday because I see all my sin holding Jesus on the cross. But it is still crucially important, because without it, I can’t be saved. No one could truly be saved. Thank you God for loving us so, and I’m sorry for all we did to You.