Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

     One week.  That's all it took for for the crowds who cheered His arrival as a Messiah to hand Him over to be put to death.  I'm not sure what it was that changed their minds about Him so quickly.  Perhaps he didn't single-handedly run the Romans out of Jerusalem.  They may have lost patience waiting for some great miracle which never came.  Most likely they just wanted a a diversion from their lives and He provided an adequate spectacle. It didn't matter if it was a parade through town on a donkey's back or a violent public execution. Maybe we can never know.  I don't suppose the specifics matter.  The mob saw Him as a cheap form of entertainment.  They missed His true purpose.  One day they cheered Him as king, seven days later they cheered his death.  Most probably didn't care either way, they craved the sensationalism.
     We haven't changed all that much as humans.  We cheer celebrities and clamor for their autographs and cheer more when their lives fall apart.  In the area of religion, we are moved to tears by a charismatic speaker only to forget the next day why it even affected us.   Somehow, we never stop long enough to ask ourselves what or even if we believe.  We love the fanfare and the thrill of the crowd.  Maybe because in all the the noise of the mob, we don't have to face the hard questions that hit us when we are alone.
     
     Who am I?

     Why am I here?
    
     What do I believe?

     What is my purpose?

     Christ came to answer those questions.  He came to tell us who were were.  He came to show us what our purpose was.  He came to show us our depravity and then restore us back to what we were created to be.  The masses heard Him.  They flocked to Him to hear him speak.  Most left not understanding a thing he said.  Again, we are no different today.

     God is love.  That is a popular sentiment today.  A true statement no doubt, but not in the way we understand it.  His love was not one of warm, fuzzy feelings and happy stories.  His was a bloody sacrificial love.  It was the kind of love that a parent would feel watching a child die of leukemia, wishing they could trade places.  He being God could do that.  He saw us lost in sin, wandering with no purpose.  He saw us living meaningless lives pursuing wealth, fame, power and  popularity.  He saw us walking headlong into hell, rejecting the One who created us and cared for us.  He saw us dead while we yet moved about from day today.  He knew that we could never come to Him on our own.  He knew that being perfect, His presence would destroy us in our imperfection.  He traded places.  He came and lived among men whom he knew would mock and reject him.  He took on our sin and became our Sacrifice. 
    
     We mocked Him then as we mock Him now.  We beat Him, scourged Him, killed Him because it was easier to destroy the Messenger than to listen to His message.  He took it all, the pain, the torture, the rejection, the hatred.  He bore the consequence of our sin, because being God, only He could pay the penalty for the accumulated sins of mankind.

     He offers us each individually that gift.  All we need do is claim it.  He bought us back from a self imposed slavery.  He does not force us to accept.  Most still reject and mock Him.  For those who chose to accept His payment he offers to take the worthless things we cling to that do not satisfy and instead fill the void with Himself.

     Today, you can mock Him.  You can continue to try and find meaning in money, sex, work, or power.  You will end up unsatisfied.  Don't believe me?  Read the front of the tabloids in the grocery store check-out.

     Maybe you've reached the breaking point.  Maybe  you've tried all the rest and know how empty you still are.  Maybe you have been broken and scarred enough from your own efforts that you finally understand how lost you are on your own.  If that's the case, then He calls to you. 

     Good Friday.  The crowd doesn't really understand the meaning.  We remember the darkest day in human history.  The day we beat our Creator to a bloody mess and nailed him to a wooden beam and watched Him die.  But through His death, we can find all that we truly long for.  Just take a good hard look inside until you understand your emptiness, then let Him fill it for you.