Reading the Passion of John today, so I pre-read it for my own reflection.
Some people do not like this day, it is too bleak for them. It makes them feel sad, so they do not think about it. I think that is called denial. Anyhow, I understand it. I saw a scene from the crucifixion this morning and burst into tears. Not so bad except I was on an exercise machine at the YMCA. Forutnately at 6:15 I was one of the few folks there, but who wants to be crying at the Y?
Weeping is not bad. Mary wept. Jesus wept. Weeping is part of the Gospel story. Probably, if contemporary Christians wept more for love of God and appreciation for Jesus the church would be a better place. Maybe not. I weep pretty often and I am not too hot a Christian. Either way, not sure the non-weepers are always hitting the mark either.
Certain verses jumped out during the reading of John 18 & 19.
One was Peter. 18:10 he lopped off the ear of the high priests servant Malchus. That little detail, a name, makes the story more reliable as history. Plus the story occurs in another Gospel as well. Think about it, a large group of armed men come upon Jesus and his friends and Peter goes on the attack. Plus he had a sword. The peace and justice crowd tends to ignore that little tidbit. Why did Peter have a sword? Gentle Jesus the man of peace is not the whole story it seems.
Peter had guts. I am not sure I would start a sword conflict with professionals who outnumber me. Yet, a few verses and some hours later Peter is telling a girl, "I do not know him." Furious courage and friend-denying cowardice. All in the same guy on the same night. What a contradiction. Sounds like me, though, and you, too. Aren't we all a jumble of hit and miss?
Then Pilate says to Jesus, "What is truth?" The post-modern attitude seems driven by a similar attitude. We hear about your truth and my truth, his truth and her truth. There are so many truths and so many of them contradict one another. The Holy Spirit is (supposedly) flying around telling people all manner of things, most of them contradicting something the Holy Spirit apparently told other folks. In my denomination we are always discerning what new things the Spirit is saying and th best part (for them) is the Spirit is saying exactly what they were hoping He would!!!! And what makes that so prevalent is the cultural reality that we don't believe in ultimate truth. [some of that critique is valid and accurate, of course, which makes it all the muddier]. Any how, Pilate is certainly the patron of cynicism. What is truth?
Jesus, of course, is Truth. He is the way, the truth and the life. Now that is pretty embarassing to many Progressives, who being much nicer than Jesus would never limit it all to Him, and being much wiser than God would explain that Jesus is A way, A truth and there is some life in Him but not exclusively.... Once again, the spirit of Pilate.
Lastly, the blood and water. A spear pierces Jesus' corpse. He is dead at that point. And out pour water and blood. Water and blood: eucharist and baptism. The blood of the lamb. The cleansing agent. From the cross. The power of God to give life from His death is mind boggling.
John said all the books in a library could not contain all that Jesus did and taught. I think a whole section of the library could be taken up with books on the death of Jesus. John said he told us what he did so that we would believe Jesus is the Son of God and find eternal life in Him. I blog for the same reason. I hope you think about Good Friday. I pray you will love Jesus and trust Him. I hope you open to the power of God on the cross. I hope you come back Sunday to hear the rest of the story.