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Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only

Good Friday – Year A

It’s a strange thing that we should call this day Good.

Jesus endures an arrest, a trial and the mocking of a crowd who had cheered for him less than a week earlier.

He suffers physical torture at the hands of the roman soldiers and a painful death on the cross.

And maybe worst of all- Jesus is betrayed, denied or deserted by almost all of his closest friends- the ones whose feet he washed just the night before.

It is a strange thing that we should call this day Good.

And yet it’s a fundamental part of Christian faith.

When we are mocked, when we are in physical pain, when we are betrayed, rejected or deserted, it is comforting to know that Jesus went through these things, too.

And yet, it’s more than that.

Because those burdens can become so heavy that we can hardly move under the weight of them. And sometimes- we are the ones who mock others, who cause pain, who betray, reject or desert those whom we love, and those who are in need.

We cannot endure the sight of those scars. We cannot bear the weight of that sin.

You may remember the story of a tragedy that struck the Amish Community in Lancaster, PA some years ago, when a gunman opened fire in a schoolhouse and 5 little girls lost their lives.

The pastor of the gunman’s family told a story about what he witnessed in the aftermath of that event. He had spent most of the day with the family and remained into the evening. There was a knock at the door in the night and an elder from the Amish community came into the house, went to the gunman’s father and said- we forgive your son. And then he embraced him, and let him cry on his shoulder for over an hour, loving him in his grief.

That’s the power of the cross.

A terrible tragedy, a terrible sin, gives way to an act of forgiveness and an act of love.
And that forgiveness and that love, lays the foundation so that wounds can begin to heal.

God forbid that any of us ever experience anything like that tragedy.

But the power of the cross- the power of forgiveness and redemption touches our lives, too.

We all have pain from broken relationships, from losses we’ve experienced in our lives,
rejection and maybe even betrayal.

And we’ve hurt those we love, and we’ve broken promises, too.

But the cross stands between us and our brokenness.

The cross stands between us and our sin.

And so we look to Jesus, our Redeemer. Because it is through the cross of Christ that we are healed. The power of the cross is the sign of God’s promise to us- that we are forgiven. We are loved and redeemed.

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