Friday, March 21, 2008

Gratitude for the Gift of Good Friday

I went outside this morning and it's really beautiful here in Miami. Breezy. Warm, but with that edge of coolness that is so fleeting here. The light is lovely--silvery-gold. And I thanked Christ for his sacrifice and the mercy that has poured on me and billions because of that great, great offering of his own body and life.

I'm still coughing and recovering. My breath comes with some effort. But with that broken breath, I praise Him, I give Him glory, and I weep to think that a bum like me obtained such manna.

If we are to live, something must die. For physical life, we must crush the carrot or lettuce or beans or wheat or animal flesh between our teeth. For spiritual life, we must ingest the Bread of Life and drink the Water of Life.

We remember today the blood that flowed, the words of forgiveness, the ultimate sacrifice of the Son of God.

These are rough times for so many all over the world--war, disease, hunger, droughts, floods, dispossession, crime, economic woes. And yet, we can't just focus on the evils of the day. We must remember that after the crucifixion, the resurrection. After the sorrows, the joy.

I hope you go outside, look at the vast sky, and utter a heartfelt thanks for the hope that His death offers to us in our lives.

Eternity is ours, because mortality was His.

From the gospel of John, chapter 19:

16So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 17They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS." 20Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews'; but that He said, 'I am King of the Jews.'" 22Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."

23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; this was to fulfill the Scripture: "THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS." 25Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

26When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. 28After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

31Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, "NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN." 37And again another Scripture says, "THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED."

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