One of the ironies in my life right now is that while all of you are thinking about my family, I’m thinking about our church family. I think it’s the pastor’s heart God has worked into me over the years, that even in a trying time like this I look for opportunities to shepherd the flock of God. So it’s Thursday night, I’m lying next to my sleeping Rebekah, and I thought I would write a short, personal Good Friday meditation for our church.
Some of you may not know what Good Friday is, so let me give a quick explanation. The church has a calendar of sorts that commemorates certain seasonal events and draws our attention to specific themes throughout the year. If you are a life long baptist, as I am, you probably haven’t had much experience with the church calendar. I often think that a great misfortune. Celebrations like Lent and Maundy Thursday can have a very positive spiritual impact on our life. Good Friday is one of those commemorative days in the church calendar that draw our attention and affections to the death of Christ. The Scripture readings that go with Good Friday this year are: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, Psalm 22:1 – 31, Hebrews 10:16 – 25, and John 18:1 – 19:42. Let me encourage you to read those passages today and meditate on Christ’s death for us.
Now for a bit of reflection. I cannot separate the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ in my thinking. The one belongs to the other. So when I think about Good Friday I naturally think of resurrection. Resurrection is the proof that Good Friday worked. It’s the proof that sin was atoned for, reconciliation made possible, and adoption made a reality. The two form a life shaping truth that we cling to for hope and joy. Let me share a personal example. As Lauren and I drove to Duke Monday, pondering the likelihood that Rebekah had leukemia, I was thinking of Christ’s death and resurrection. And as I did, I looked at my wife and said, “Everything’s going to be o.k.” I didn’t use those words as a simple, trite expression. Christ’s death and resurrection make everything o.k. in the life of a believer. There are still very real, heartbreaking hardships. There is still grief, pain, crying, and stress. But Christ’s death and resurrection show us that the sting of sin (which includes not only death but all suffering) has been put to an end. Christ suffered so that I, and every other Christ follower, one day wouldn’t. My suffering, my wife’s suffering, my daughter’s suffering, and your suffering have been unequivocally overcome in the death and resurrection of Christ. That is a glorious hope! That is a joyful truth that the gospel beacons us to believe.
Jay Todd sent me an email tonight quoting Romans 15:13. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” What an incredible verse. Paul was only able to write those breathtaking words after he had taught us about the Christ. It is Good Friday. It is good because Christ overcame the power of death, sin, and the grave. It is good because through the suffering of Christ, the seed that the Father planted burst forth into glorious life. It is good because in Christ’s suffering, my suffering ends. It is good because if I share in a death like His, I will share in a resurrection like His. This Friday is good. Rejoice in Christ today. Know and delight in the savior who delights to call you child.