reflecting on Good Friday

I think my husband is a great preacher.  I know this is true because when he's at the pulpit (or in our case, music stand), the things he says no longer come from the mouth of the man who forgets to take out the garbage or waits too long to cut the grass.  I hear the words of the Lord - the words that have the power to make a difference in my life.

But great preachers aren't always born that way!  I remember with distinct clarity one of my husband's first messages at a small country church.  He had been attending seminary for about a year and chose to speak on "the Hypostatic Union of Christ."

say wha-??

He proceeded to READ an essay he'd written on how Jesus was fully God and fully man during his time on earth.  I'm not sure what was more memorable: the glazed expressions of the congregation or the fact that my sweet hubby sweated through to the outside of the cuffs on his dress shirt!

A learning experience, indeed, but it came to my mind this Good Friday as I considered what it meant for Jesus to be both God and human as He instituted the Lord's supper.

1 Corinthians 11 
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

As I read these familiar words, I suddenly could see Jesus around the table, talking with His friends.   He reaches for some bread and explains why they should see this bread as different from any other they've eaten.  "This is my body, broken for you."  He passes it to the man beside him who breaks off a piece and begins to slowly chew it, contemplating what the Lord has just said.

And as Jesus sees His friends each take a turn breaking off some of this bread, He shudders.  He is God - He knows what's coming.  He is man - He wishes to not know such pain.

I think that I've diminished God at times around the communion table.  Like somehow, because He was God and could see the big picture, He could look beyond the pain He knew was coming.  

Have I thought Gethsemane was just for show?

When we read:

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

we read it in one breath - as though He wasn't really asking for a way out.     

But He was fully human.  Of course He wanted a way out.  I would be looking for the nearest exit!  

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) 

Fear is not a sin.  Anxiety is not a sin.  Struggling to surrender is not a sin.

Jesus understands.

For me the most meaningful part of our Good Friday service was my dear friend singing a song written by Greg Sczebel called "Perhaps."

Take time to savour the lyrics and know that our Saviour understands and has been with us all along.
do you think that I'd forget
the kiss of death that was left on my face?
do you think I did not hear the people mock
the soliders sneer on that day?
do you think that I don't cry
when The Very World For Which I Died
just Tries To Wipe My Name From History?
child, It Reminds Me Of Gethsemane

do You Think That I'm Immune
to The Pain You Put Me Through
when You Close Your Heart And Walk Away
and Disregard The Price I Paid?
do You Think That I Didn't Cry All Day?

you See You're Not The Only One
who Understands Where You're Coming From
i've Been There All Along


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