Good Friday

TGIF. With a whole new meaning, eh?

If anyone wondered where I was…. I was writhing in sickness the past few days, and before that I had the nerve to take actual family time, Result? More than a week without productive blogging. Oh, I wrote some self-indulgent drafts, but all my planned output is simple notes on what I want to write about.

Anyway, being horribly sick has a way of putting you in a perspective inducing humility. You know, flat on the floor… unable to take care of all your well laid plans. Having a stomach bug of some sort is particularly effective in reducing all your pride in short order. You are not actually dying but in the balance of how you feel about that. I will spare you the vulgar details, but it is a common enough experience that you can imagine what I went through. It was just in time to give me some Good Friday thoughts.

Good Friday

This is the day that ‘The Passion’ movie focused upon, the day where Christ suffered in ways that will take eternity to explore in its meaning and depth, but in ways that are immediately effectual for our human needs. We are sick and dying.

Sick and dying.

We need a salvation, a Physician, a Comforter. At our best we are pathetic and meaningless in the universe. We need a context of our meaning and the usefulness of our existance. We need to understand our sufferings and the suffering and decay around us.

And in this day…Good Friday…. it is illustrated for us. A bleak illustration, a horrifying one, but a necessary one.

It is not until Resurrection Sunday that we understand the message, but on this day we see our situation. We see our need of this Savior, while our repugnancy of seeing the pus of humanity… the sin-sickness of us all…. is too much for us to view. We turn away. Surely we are not as bad as all that. We are not so unjust. It always another who is guilty, surely not us.

But when we are in need, when sick, when dying, when grieving loss, we understand….we understand our need. I have been meditating upon the stripes of Jesus which bore my sickness, which have given me hope of recovery and relief. If we understood our extemity of this we would not cavil over who has enough faith, or not enough faith, over who gets what…but we would go to the source of our help seeking our relief to the greatest degree that our hand of faith may carry, for ourselves and those we love, and even those we do not know. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

And be grateful. Good Friday is for gratefulness, that prepares us for the joy of Resurrection Sunday…. with a day of resting in our helpless-ness, but healed-ness on Saturday. It is an end, a burial, and a beginning, a rising up.

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied ;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

4 thoughts on “Good Friday”

  1. Rusty, would you have your insight on it? I have not done an in-depth look at that part, but you are inspiring one:)

    I have always seen “the arm of the LORD” (ver.1) as Jesus Christ in all references, and so the ver.2 continues speaking of him. Christ is also called “the root of Jesse” although his earthly appearance came after Jesse, which is similar to when Christ taught about himself, “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

    In ver.2 there are pictures of “root” “shoot (new growth)” and “dry ground”. It speaks to me of the hiddenness of Christ – of something that is from the foundation, but not appearing until the former growth is gone and the ground is dry with despair.

    The second part shows that he was indeed, “Son of Man”…because we were always looking for “Superman”, and Christ had the outward appearance of someone quite ordinary, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?”

    Like most Christians I see this portion of Isaiah as a short bio of Jesus.

  2. Ilona,

    In conversations regarding what Jesus may have looked like (and, I suppose, what he still looks like), I have been of the opinion that he was someone who would stand out in a crowd… have a commanding presence, etc. I’ve been debated by those who claim that Jesus was “average” in his appearance and that we shouldn’t expect that he was, say, taller than the others around him, etc. (I had one person go so far as to list all the “average” qualities of Jesus that she claimed the Bible spoke of)

    The reference for this “average-ness” of Jesus has been Isaiah 53:3. Yet, when I read it, it doesn’t so much appear to be stating that Jesus’ appearance was “average” as much as it’s stating that his appearance was not like that of an Adonis. In other words, we would desire him not because of his physical beauty (in whatever cultural standards may have been applicable at the time) but for his essence. However, I believe that that does not connote “average” in the sense that he would not stand out in a crowd or command authority by his stature and appearance. One does not have to be beautiful in order to have a commanding presence.

    I wonder, also, if some of our culture’s desire to have Jesus appear “average” relates somewhat to our culture’s desire to have Jesus be our “best buddy”? (the “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirts come to mind)

    Anyway, a bit off topic, but the issue came up last weekend at church.

    Oh yeah,… did I inspire? ;^)

    Rusty

  3. Rusty, you always inspire me:) And I’m not lyin’- I always like your take; even if I don’t always agree, it is something to take into consideration.

    I understand what you mean, but I think there are ways that people stand out, not all of them physically apparent,( as you put it: “for his essence”) and I think this would be the way Jesus appeared before glorified. That His glorification changed how He appeared might explain why Mary did not at first recognize Him ( likewise His friends on the road to Emmaus).

    It is interesting that the pattern for the tabernacle was to be covered in badger skin, which would have looked unprepossessing from a distance, only to be blown away by the magnificent color and splendor of the interior. I believe this is how Jesus was in His humanity. I also believe that when our spiritual eyes are opened to Him it is like Peter’s experience at the mount of transfiguration- Christ in His magnificent splendor and majesty; but as a man walking the earth, without note.

    And you did cause me to think further about this passage….

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