This post may not be for the faint of heart: Consider yourselves warned!
No, it doesn’t contain gratuitous descriptions of torture, violence or executions designed to illicit guilt, but it does contain a challenge!
Why are so many Christians going around with long faces today? Are they remembering the tragic assassination of Abraham Lincoln which took place on Good Friday in 1865? Probably not. Is it because they are thinking about Jesus’ crucifixion, and lamenting not only his death, but their part in nailing Him to that cross?
It is a very human and loving response, when looking right at the crucifixion of Jesus, considering how terrible it was and how sad His passing, to feel sorrow and grief. It is a very human response even to feel a sense of shame and guilt in reflecting upon this scene.
I’m not quite sure that this natural human response is worthy of our heavenly calling, however. Isn’t this just the sort of thing Jesus died to put an end to? Sorrow, guilt, shame…? Aren’t our natural human responses just the things that got humanity in trouble in the first place?
Think about it another way for a moment: Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate victory! In this single act, He defeated death, He defeated sin and He defeated Satan… all in one stroke. On that day long ago, he set us free from the guilt of sin and slavery to sin and death!
Why the long faces? Why the old religious rituals of contrition and penance to remember being set free from such things? You must admit that the irony of this is almost devilish. It’s almost as if we were more comfortable under the condemnation of the old Law than we are in the freedom of Christ. Yes, dear reader, today needs to be a day of reflection, but rather than reflecting with shame, sorrow and guilt, we should be reflecting upon His Victory over these things.
Oh, I know that is what we do on Sunday in recalling His resurrection, but the resurrection confirmed his victory. The victory itself was won on the cross. How much more faith does it require to gaze upon the cross and see victory, than it does to gaze upon the confirmation and see glory?
Do we dare ponder such a question?