- Jesus was a peacemaker.
- During Jesus’ time on earth He proclaimed strange things like “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” And “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” Such impossible words to live out. But on the cross, so near death we see this act of peacemaking being lived out by Jesus.
25-30 They nailed [Jesus] up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
31-32 The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—but he can’t save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
- We seek to be Peacemakers because we follow the Peacemaker who was crucified. In the face of that persecution “He Forgave His Enemies” without mumbling even one word of judgment or scorn against those that had come to see him die.
- The message posted above Jesus’ head read “King…” and although it was used ironically, it was in fact an accurate title for Jesus.
- The problem was that Jesus was a new kind of King that was hard to recognize. He was a Servant King. A King that put other’s needs in front of his own. Jesus emphasised this servanthood when he washed his followers feet, and told them to do the same.
- Jesus didn’t say a lot on the cross, so the few words he did say are so important to understanding the core of what Jesus is about.
24-27 While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.
- Even on the cross, Jesus showed the heart of a servant, by taking care of those around him.
- Humanity was and is on a crash course for destruction. We have messed up our lives, our relationships and our world in every conceivable way imaginable. We our masters of injustice and our own worst enemies.
- In the midst of this God decides to become human, and lived in Solidarity with us. Our pain became His pain, our consequences His consequences, and ultimately our death sentence became His death sentence.
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
- The Solidarity of the cross became so intense that Jesus’ Humanity could no longer perceive that part of the Trinity that is God the Father, God the loving Creator and God the Sustainer.
- “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” was screamed out by God himself in the form of human flesh. And as the rest of us humans look back at this moment, we can say “My God, My God, you died in Solidarity with me. You took on my pain, my wrong doings and my guilt and you claimed me as your own child.
- With the death of Jesus, God the Son, the act of Solidarity was complete. God’s Story and Humanity’s Story were now one and the same.
All scripture quotes taken from The Message Translation.
Text by Randell Neudorf
Tree Photo by Jennifer Kellner
Video & Photos of Good Friday taken by Susan S.