Today is a good day! It is Good Friday!
I have to admit the verses I read for today brought on an entirely different meaning to me once I realized the significance of the day they were assigned to be read. On the Christian calendar, today marks the remembrance of Good Friday—the day Jesus was crucified. There was nothing “good” about that day as it is recognized as the darkest day in all of history. It is the day the Jews (those who believed) lost all hope that this Man, Jesus, was the Messiah prophesized for hundreds of years. It was not good for his disciples who had given up everything to follow him. What were they to do now? But God’s plan of redemption was being fulfilled before the eyes of creation. No one saw the significance as it occurred. It proves that God’s greatest works may not “look” the way we think they should. On that day, God made a way for us to have direct access to Him by tearing the curtain of separation.
Psalm 22 contains verses that were fulfilled in the Gospels.
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (see also Mark 15:33-34) NLT
Jesus says these words as he is hanging on the cross. In researching these words I came upon an interesting perspective. I had always thought of these words as Jesus suffering separation from God (2 Cor 5:21) taking our sin upon himself. But one commentary I read talked about Jesus pointing the people around him to Psalm 22, revealing the prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, teaching even as he was dying. If they read that scripture, they would have read these words that were written hundreds of years before Christ was born:
16b They have pierced[a] my hands and feet. (see also Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Acts 2:23)
18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice[b] for my clothing. (see also John 19:24)
2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1)
Apart from Jesus Christ, this is true. Only He gives meaning to life AND death.
I shared in a recent post that it seemed death was all around me. At that time, I was waiting for my brother to die. We had been told it was imminent but I don’t think we ever want to give up hope that a miracle can happen. It was a wait that took me deep into a pit of depression. In my eyes, it was meaningless. The last few years as he slowly declined and then finally the pneumonia that took him–it all made me angry. I was angry with this horrible disease that took away the life he could have had and the time we could have spent together. I wasn’t sure what to do with that anger, so I held it in and isolated from the world as much as I could. I went through the motions of life but it was all meaningless.
As I’ve read through these verses the last few weeks, I began to find comfort. When I first started reading the verses, Ecclesiastes 1 really spoke to my mood. But this past week, as Easter approached, I thought of Jesus laying down His life for us. He was willing to die, to suffer, and to sacrifice Himself. Death had no victory over him. John 12:24-25 says “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” I began to see anew that there is meaning to death. Yes, we are separated from our loved ones but only for a while if they have believed in Christ as their Savior. Yes, we miss them terribly and there is a void in our lives. But death is not the end! Jesus rose on the third day. We are told by Jesus himself that he goes before us to prepare a place for us. Why would he tell that to us if it were not true?
As I read through the verses in Leviticus and 1 Timothy, they are filled with laws and rules on how we are to live our lives here. Following Jesus gives our life meaning. Living as he taught us to live gives our lives meaning. Serving him gives our life meaning. Getting to be with him when we die—that gives death meaning. It is time to get busy living until he calls me to be with him.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I need Easter. He is Risen!
Father, today as we remember the price Jesus paid for us to be with You, let us not take it lightly. We need to remember he willing allowed his body to be abused and broken beyond what most of us could ever endure. For this, we eat the bread. We need to remember the blood he shed to atone for our sins. For this, we drink the wine. He died the death we deserve. But then he rose! Hallelujah!