2020-04-09 - Pondering on Good Friday
Originally Published 2018-04-03
As an adult, particularly, I have wondered why this day just before Easter weekend is called Good Friday. I think it is natural to wonder about it, due to the fact the murder of a loved one is generally not viewed as a definition of good, or any of the synonyms that could be connected to the word. Growing up Good Friday meant we got out of school early, and that seemed pretty good. Are there any other thoughts within the definition that could be construed as good in a way we have not fully considered, though? I have learned more about the pictures of sculptures (Stations of the Cross) representing the different stages from the time Jesus entered Jerusalem and was then arrested, taken to the Roman Governor, and finally sentenced to death by him - and lastly, executed. Friday services with the inclusion of these images and reparation prayers are done by a few different denominations (Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic) to honor Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation within God’s plan. While I have often considered traditions done for the sake of something other than God’s will imprudent, I have come to realize that so many like this may also contain truth I had yet to weigh, because God knew I was not quite ready to receive it - at least not in the way I truly need to receive the truth. Ponder, if you will, the implication of each part of the stations listed below, and how it could connect to the synonym for “good” after it. Perhaps use those images and thoughts for contemplation and prayers of reparation to a God who gave it all for us to live.
I found a note from my father the other day, when I was cleaning up an area, for me to do my writing and study. The note was once enclosed with a book that he hoped would be spiritually uplifting for me. He seemed drawn to this particular author, due to the fact he felt most messages he had experienced in church were not of a positive nature. The perplexity I have with the idea that truthful messages of God should invariably be uplifting, is that I know that not everything I need to hear is something that will necessarily feel good. It still, however, might be good that I hear it. It is a matter of balance, and while as mortals, we may not necessarily see good in the death of God’s son, it was necessary. Because like the sun and moon, land and sea and all living things God created, the sacrifice of Jesus is also seen by God as good in the grand scheme of things, for the fulfillment of his promise to us. I am quite sure that liking had nothing to do with sacrificing his only son. In Genesis’ creation, the etymology of good is explained (in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) as coming from the prime root (2895 Hebrew) word tomb, to do or make good in the wildest sense. This is a transitive verb, which is a verb that expresses action with an object English Grammar and Composition: Warriner & Griffith, 1973. The subject transfers the action to an object, and in this case, God is transferring his mercy and redemption to us by way of Jesus. Our acknowledging his sacrifice to us, in real and meaningful ways, is giving honor to our exceptional Father by also showing him we are forever grateful. We need to face the fact that not every aspect of such an unworthy gift should feel good to us. I’ve heard many times that when I, or someone I love, has been through a trauma, that facing up to it - and finding ways to express how it has affected us, is the healthiest way to move forward. God does not want me to spend my life ever mournful, only focusing on one of the emotions he has given me. Yet there are times when I should pause, reflect, and grieve. There is a time for everything. And when I accept Jesus as my Savior, I am making his loss personal to me. Today, I remember how a day changed everything, for me and anyone else who chooses to receive the gift. Joy will come in the morning, but today, I praise God for the gift he gave me, his son’s life for mine.
Stations of the Cross on Good Friday
The standard set from the 17th to 20th centuries has consisted of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes (taken from Wikipedia.com) * and in parentheses, a word connected as a synonym in some way to that station.,
- Pilate condemns Jesus to die (capital)
- Jesus accepts his cross (worthy)
- Jesus falls for the first time (honorable)
- Jesus meets his mother, Mary (precious)
- Simon helps carry the cross (select)
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (sterling)
- Jesus falls for the second time (admirable)
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (welcome)
- Jesus falls for the third time (commendable)
- Jesus is stripped of his clothes (bully)
- Jesus is nailed to the cross (spanking)
- Jesus dies on the cross (recherche’)
- Jesus is taken down from the cross (precious)
- Jesus is placed in the tomb (valuable)
Isaiah 53:3-4 King James Version (KJV)
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
“God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness: (Genesis 1:4 NIV)
“The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12 NIV)
“So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.: (Genesis 1:21 NIV)
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”(Genesis 1:31 NIV)
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
John 11:17-35 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles[a] off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[b] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[c] in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.” (Mark 16:9-10 NIV)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 KJV)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 KJV)
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.
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