Passion Week Devotional: Friday

By Trey Moore

Good Friday. The day that Jesus went to the cross on our behalf. The day that the perfect only begotten Son of the Father was punished for the sin and brokenness of all humanity throughout history. Somber doesn’t even really begin to describe it the more we ponder this day.

There is much I could write about Good Friday and what it means for us as followers of Jesus. But what I want to do is share with you one of the most moving depictions of the crucifixion that I’ve ever read. It is an excerpt from a book by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes called When God Weeps. The book itself is examining why our sufferings matter to God. Be warned, I have never read this without weeping.
“‘On your back with you!’ One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he raises the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son so ‘all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on–he grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings.

As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm–the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless–the nerve performs exquisitely. ‘Up you go!’ They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear, and can scarcely breathe.

But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day and unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being–the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.

His Father! He must face his Father like this!

From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a Lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.

‘Son of man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, listed, stolen, gossiped–murdered, envied, hated. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten,--fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk–you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who have you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp–buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornagraphy, accepting brides. You have burned down building, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves–relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, I loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?’

Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed.

The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror-image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.

‘Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!’

But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply.

The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son who he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.”
It is news almost too good to be true. The Rescue has been accomplished. And may we never forget the cost of that great rescue, paid on our behalf by Jesus. If you’re reading this post as a devotional I would recommend you now go and read one of the crucifixion narratives in the gospels. Then spend time in meditation and prayer before the Lord on this Good Friday.

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