Stricken, smitten, afflicted” After viewing “Stricken, smitten, afflicted’ media clip. You who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great. Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate. Mark the sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load; ‘tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God.
Friends, what do we do with a guy like this? What do you do with Jesus of Nazareth and this old story we tell every year? When we remember this cross and this blood and these 7 words he speaks from a place or deep pain and God-forsakenness, what do we do with him?
One thing to do is what that song suggested – Friends, this is a day to feel the weight of our fears, our wrongs, our worries, our doubts, our loss, our pains and any unbelief in this Easter event.
It ain’t pretty but it is necessary – so we, with him, get through these to a much better place because of him and what he is doing for us.
We can let ourselves feel the weight because he takes it all as he holds his whole body weight on iron and wood in pain. By this cross he calls out to everyone who looks long enough and deeply enough into his pain that his death is the end of your death.
So, on Good Friday there is no room for denying any of this. There is little room for falsehood or blaming of everything and everyone else for our evil – or denying evil and loss and the doubts, fears and temptation to forget about him bring into play. Because of a guy like this there does not need to be.
If you ever have any doubt that Evil exists as more than a mere idea; If you ever stop by this cross long enough and let it in; grasp its evil nature, destructive power, sense the goal of the Evil One and the OldAdam within us, then doubt no more as you hear and see this bloodied man on that terrible cross. This is Evil’s goal; Evil’s final destination for all of us – if Evil had its own way, or course.
From some out of control military unit or individual who let that rocket go into flight MH 17, to such a tragic mental illness bred loss of so many in the beautiful but now deathly French Alps, to the any self-loving dictator who oppresses the poor in the lust for power, to any hurtful words we find ourselves inflicting on others, we know evil and we are a part of it. We both are damaged by it and do some damage ourselves.
There are bad things that happen to innocent people and there are bad things done by people doing wrong.
We experience both and are part of both – either as people receiving or doing.
But Evil is not the last word today. The brokenness of humanity, the pain we suffer, the wrongs we endure and the self-centred words and actions we inflict are undone today.
The hands that gave us life, flung stars into space – are the same hands that to cruel nails now surrender to death – for the life of the world.
So mark this sacrificial point in time – Good Friday. That’s what we do with a guy like this.
See who bears our pain, our dirt, our shame, our despair, our violence, hatred and this human arrogance with which we live – the arrogance that replaces this Divine man of love with lots of other loves.
Who bears all of this and brings in a new story, a new life, a new future, a last word of life for us? It is him – the Lord’s man appointed for this death, this cross, this blood this God-forsakenness. And he is innocent. He did have not do any of it. He did not fall prey to any of Evil’s traps as we are want to do.
This human and divine being thunders in a whispering declaration – we will hear it soon. “It is finished”. We have reached the end of ourselves and all we hear and see is him and his words – It is finished.
“But it is here that we have a firm foundation” sings the song writer. Here is the “refuge of the lost”.
Friend, can your hear for real that he has entered our darkness and his light has broken through and there is a river of forgiveness, renewal, resurrection flowing from him to all the sinners who receive his cross and his loss and his love? This is our claim today.
“Christ is the Rock of our freedom” “His is the name on which we boast”.
Go ahead and boast today – Good Friday – not in us but in him.
He is the Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, sacrifice to cancel my guilt and our world’s sorrow!
They slaughtered him and his blood flowed freely for all the sinners who ever felt the weight of their shame.
Sense yourself being un-weighted; freed again today.
He is taking the weight and the pain off you. He is drawing you into his pain so you can lose yours. He is inviting you into his death so you don’t have one.
What do you do with a guy like this?
Remember him and remember what he has done and recognise what he is still doing.
Friend, whoever you are and wherever you are, sense your eyes being lifted to both view the bloodied man on the cross and the white light man out of the tomb.
As the song writer says, “You will never be confounded” as you build your life on the hope he freely gives today.