Not Just Any Ordinary Friday

It all began on a Friday a little less than 2,000 years ago, and to be sure, not just any ordinary Friday. Citizens and visitors to Jerusalem were eagerly celebrating Passover, the annual feast commemorating Israel’s freedom from 400 years of slavery. The evening before, around candlelit tables dressed with Passover foods, fathers and mothers had been retelling the Exodus story to their children as they recalled how YAHWEH had delivered Israel. How the blood of sacrificed lambs had been applied to the entrances of every Hebrew home so that the angel of death might pass over every covered doorway; and how God had outplayed Pharaoh, delivering his people from bondage to this cruel taskmaster.

Every year after that, Israel gathered to remember their freedom. And so, in late March or early April, somewhere between A.D 30 and A.D. 33, once again, people flooded Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside to observe Passover, with one distinct difference. Whereas ancient Israel sacrificed lambs to protect them from God’s judgment upon Pharaoh and his land, at this Passover, God sacrificed his own Lamb to propitiate his judgment on all sin and all sinners.

Today, Good Friday, we meditate on God’s great love for the world revealed through Jesus Christ’s unparalleled sacrifice and crucifixion. As Isaiah foretold: “Our sins did it to him, our sins ripped and tore and crushed him — our sins! He took the punishment that made us whole. Through his bruises, we get healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, MSG) Through his death on the cross, Jesus purchased our redemption, peace, and freedom. What we could never do for ourselves, God did for us!

That Friday was a day of misery and sorrow for Jesus’ first followers, but as they were soon to learn, Resurrection Sunday was coming!

The Lord’s peace be with you!

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