Death. The worst possible thing. Until you realize it was the only thing that could change anything. The reason this day is good… the reason Jesus’ death is good… is because, from the moment of our birth, we live lives in direct rebellion to our Creator. To The One that wants to be Our Father. And a rebellion like this can never be ignored by a Loving, Just, and Holy God, simply because He is so good and it harms His Creation.
Enter The Light that stands in stark contrast to the darkness that fills this earth. Enter The Peace that puts to rest the rebellion that so suffocates this place. Enter the only real Hope in this broken down, hopelessly swirling world. Enter the only lasting answer to every “How will we ever…?” The only right to everything that’s wrong. The only lifelong love that will make everything alright again.
You see, Jesus’ love and death and rising wasn’t just a good thing for Him to do. It was a must do. A, do this or else. An absolute requirement. We are not okay without this day. And we will never be good apart from His good work on this Good Friday. We can pretend this is not the case. We can turn from this Truth and deny it. Like Peter did on this very day. But we’ll only be left with sorrow and shame in the end. Like Peter. Because denying Jesus will take you only so far and then it will leave you so far from love and eventually all alone. Though, Peter did hear the voice of Jesus in the crow of the rooster while standing all alone. And he remembered the warning…
Yet, like the wisest man that ever lived once said in The Song of Solomon, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” So, we can never be forced to see this Love. Even if it is accused, mocked, beaten, bruised, nailed, crushed, and raised high to die upon a tree. Even if it is done for you and for me.
And neither can we be forced to hear His tender voice that never denied even one false accusation brought against Him because we were the guilty ones… The voice that denied the relief of a drink to ease His suffering… The voice that denied the strain of His own pain, while caring for His mother’s future… The voice that refused to deny forgiveness to the criminal beside Him nor His captors who would kill Him… The voice that refused to deny even for a second His purpose, as He cried out to God the moment all our rebellion heaped upon Him, left Him forsaken… The voice that never – not once ever – denied loving us as He breathed His last and “finished” His work on earth, ALL for us.
We can’t be forced to see or hear or accept any of the good that comes to us because of this good day. We can’t be forced to see that the death of this day was for anything good at all, least of all our own good, when we can’t see how desperately we need His goodness because of our own rebellion. We can’t be forced to hear His voice as it speaks love over us until it can no longer speak. We can’t be forced to rejoice at any of the good in this gift when we can’t accept the Giver.
We simply cannot be forced.
But Friends, can we be certain that in the denying we aren’t actually being forced into living only a fraction of this life? That we aren’t being denied the real life that was secured for us by this death? That what our eyes are choosing to gaze upon, forces us to see what we can only comprehend… instead of the beauty of an eternity beyond comprehension?
And, while I may not be able to force anyone to lay eyes on the Love that died for them this day… or to hear the voice that cries out to them this day, I can try and find my voice to say…
The good that comes to us by Jesus’ death today, has the power over every force in our lives which seeks to break our hearts… our minds… our very souls, this day. And the good that comes to us today brings the peace, hope, and love our rebellious hearts seek this day… all the goodness we long for our lives to create in these dark days.
And though it’s true He’ll never force you, it’s also true His body broke for you with a force that shattered the sky and tore down all barriers and even shook the very earth that held Him up for you, so, if any denial remains, I pray you’d instead desire – today – to see and hear that He did it all because of His very great love for you.
Oh, and one more thing… I can promise that you will never – not once ever – regret falling into the scarred arms of Love being held out to you on this Very. Good. Friday.