Friday, April 3, 2015

Pain and Good

This morning I pinched my finger in a cabinet door and yelped at the pain. Then I remembered what today is. Today is Good Friday in the Christian calendar. "What's so good about it?" is an occasional question and it deserves an answer. Because today is about Pain, which doesn't seem to have any connection to Good or to Comfort. Jesus had pain, but no comfort on this day. Not from the wine they offered him as a drug (he refused it) and not from anyone around him, even his mother and a few disciples who stood by horrified and helpless.

By the way, the crucifixion wasn't the Father's sadistic anger directed at his Son instead of at you; that is a grave misunderstanding of the wonderful plan of God to rescue us from ourselves. Some people use that idea to disbelieve God -- well, I don't believe in that God either. No, it was sin and suffering that put Jesus on the cross. It was the outstanding love of Father, Son and Spirit for us that led God to rescue us from ourselves. It was the love of Jesus for you, the 'you' he had seen 'up close and personal' in his 33 years of life, that drove him to take on all your sin and pain and then to free you from it by dying from it. To hurt for you, because sin hurts and causes hurt, not for any other reason. Love for you called Jesus to do that so "there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain" ever again. And in a real, spiritual sense (not the mere physical we have in this world) he did take it all away that day. In the spiritual realm, all sin and pain and sorrow and death was defeated that day!

Pain resulted in Good on this Good Friday, because Jesus gives us his own comfort and courage in the shape of his own victory over it all.  "It is finished!" he cried out as he died, and he really meant that. It really is all over, and one day we'll be able to see it with our own eyes!

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