Good Friday reminds me that darkness must proceed resurrection.
Good Friday reminds me that pain and suffering, the blood sweat and tears of life, are part of the journey, not something to avoid, minimize or deny.
Good Friday reminds me that when life reaches the apex of darkness, the light of dawn is thinly close.
In the Garden of Eden humanity experienced the divine disconnect. There Adam chose self over God’s sovereignty, sin over God’s sufficiency.
It would be another garden where the second Adam, Jesus, would choose differently in order to redeem and heal the brokeness created by the first Adam. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus chose the sovereignty and sufficiency of His Father’s plan over his own safety and sustenance.
This choice transforms the world.
In his book “Life of Christ” Fulton J. Sheen noted:
“As Adam lost the heritage of union with God in a garden, so now Our Blessed Lord ushered in its restoration in a garden. Eden and Gethsemane were the two gardens around which revolved the fate of humanity. In Eden, Adam sinned; in Gethsemane, Christ took humanity’s sin upon Himself. In Eden, Adam hid himself from God; in Gethsemane, Christ interceded with His Father; in Eden, God sought out Adam in his sin of rebellion; in Gethsemane, the New Adam sought out the Father and His submission and resignation. In Eden, a sword was drawn to prevent entrance into the garden and thus immortalizing of evil; in Gethsemane, the sword would be sheathed.”
In Gethsemane we are faced with the brokeness of our humanity.
The truth is we are more about our own safety than sacrificing it for the flourishing of others.
The truth is we don’t forgive our enemies, we conceive of ways to destroy them.
The truth is we don’t really care about the plight of our neighbor unless it somehow affects us.
The truth is we seldom forgive an offender unless they grovel for it.
The truth is we have rushed, embracing resurrection without dealing with the darkness of Gethsemane and Calvary.
You can’t live out resurrection without first crying in Gethsemane.
There is an old Lutheran Hymn that inches it’s way up into my heart each year during Holy Week, and in particular on Good Friday. It is called Go To Dark Gethsemane. As a resource to help you fully embrace the darkness in order to truly live a life of resurrection, take some time to meditate on this hymn.
Go to Dark Gethsemane
By: James Montgomery
Go to dark Gethsemane,
All who fell the tempter’s power
Your Redeemer’s conflict see.
Watch with him one bitter hour;
Turn not from his griefs away;
Learn from Jesus Christ to pray.
Follow to the judgment hall,
View the Lord of life arraigned;
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn from him to bear the cross.
Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
There, adoring at his feet,
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!” hear him cry;
Learn from Jesus Christ to die.
Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay
All is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.
The last line is the call to live resurrectionally…
Savior…teach us so to rise!
“Salvation” is a word that flows in Christian circles the way water hurls itself down a riverbank. Assumptions are made, distinctives are codified and labels are assigned.
Most have a narrow understanding of the concept that Jesus called the Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus was excited about it.
He wanted everyone to experience it.
He gave His life to open it’s entrance.
I like Tozer’s take:
“If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.”
― A.W. Tozer
Salvation is more than a get out of Hell card. That limited view makes Jesus a mechanism, and centers everything on me.
Salvation is an invitation.
Salvation is a transformation.
Salvation is undeserved.
Salvation is a person, Jesus.
N.T. Wright notes:
“the work of salvation, in its full sense, is (1) about whole human beings, not merely souls; (2) about the present, not simply the future; and (3) about what God does through us, not merely what God does in and for us.”
― N.T. Wright
The motivation for salvation is God’s tenacious, unyielding, ferocious and all-consuming love.
The hum that you feel in the core of your soul, is the love of God inviting you into an adventure through Christ. Peter Kreeft said it this way:
“We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.”
― Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock
Grace and Peace…
*artwork (c) is by Justin Spencer Lamborn: http://www.specterandbride.co/