Wednesday of Holy Week
The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed; in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil 3.10, Rom 6.4) The Christian life is a life of crucifixion (Gal 2.19) In baptism the form of Christ’s death is impressed upon his own. They are dead to the flesh and to sin, they are dead to the world, and the world is dead to them (Gal 6.14). Anybody living in the strength of Christ’s baptism lives in the strength of Christ’s death.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Good Friday is perhaps the most difficult event in all of Scripture for us humans to get our minds around. The idea that God, if there is a God, would not only allow, but will, his son to die on a cross, is incomprehensible to many. To top it off, we call this event “Good”
And it is hard to understand. I recently heard a comedian sum up Christianity in this way: “The notion that accepting Jesus Christ as your savior absolves you of all wrongdoing of any scale feels like a crock of ****.”
It is only honest of us to express our own concerns, doubts, or wonderings about the mystery of salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice. But what I hope we can find as we worship and observe these next few Holy Days, is that God is at work in a powerful way in this moment. God has not just sent his son to die as an expression of love, or as a lesson about sacrifice or humility. Rather, the moment of Jesus death is a cosmic, powerful, God-sized atonement event where in an instance Jesus has all the sin and evil of the world piled on his shoulders, and then buried with him in the tomb. He takes it all, and pays the price.
We should not be tempted to think that there is magic or hocus-pocus involved. Or that just by saying we “choose Jesus” as our savior that we are saved by our words. What has happened is that he has chosen us. Not everyone sees it. Sometimes this truth might slip out of focus for us as well. But the cross is proof that God has chosen to save humanity, providing a path to salvation for the world.
The joy of resurrection is around the corner. But for these few days let us sit in thankfulness, reflecting on the goodness of this Friday, where we see beyond all doubt, that though we have been weak, he is strong.
~Pastor Mike Middaugh