Good Friday Reflection by David Jones
Did Jesus, when he was a child, know that his life would end in the horrendous way that we have recorded in today’s passage? We don’t really know; but we do know that Jesus’ entire life leading up to his death by crucifixion was lived in total obedience to God! And we also see in Jesus’ life God’s plan of salvation being worked out to culminate in Jesus’ final destiny of crucifixion and resurrection. Today we are invited to reflect on the meaning of the cross in both Jesus’ life and our own.
Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter and most likely would have taught Jesus his trade. But Jesus did not, as would have been expected, follow in his father’s footsteps. He seemed to sense God’s call upon his life at a young age. Even at the age of around 12 we read that he preached in the synagogue - amazing people with his knowledge of the scriptures.
But rather than following the life of a pharisee, Jesus became an itinerant preacher and prophet, going out to the people and preaching in the outdoors. His popularity increased and he attracted thousands of people who came from places near and far to listen to what he had to say. People felt his calling upon their life. Fishermen left their jobs, their homes & families to follow Jesus and became disciples, learning from his example.
However, Jesus’ style of preaching, the radical message that he preached, his implied claim of divinity, and his actions in ignoring many of the Jewish laws upset the Pharisees and the High priests so much, that they swore out false charges against him to have Him punished by Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. Despite, after questioning, finding no fault in Jesus, Pilate nevertheless had Jesus flogged to appease the chief priests and then, at the urging of the people, gave Jesus up to be crucified.
That people, some of whom may well have been those who had travelled great distances to hear Jesus’ teaching, and who surely couldn’t fathom what he had done wrong to deserve crucifixion, would have turned against him is an indication of the fickleness of people’s faith.
Throughout history, including today, we see this same fickle nature of people’s obedience and faith in God. God saved the people of Israel time and time again even though they went against his wishes and did not listen to what they were told. And even one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas, betrayed Jesus for the sum of 30 pieces of silver, and led the soldiers and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees to Kidron valley where they arrested Jesus. Even Jesus’ faithful disciple Peter denied knowing Jesus and being a disciple when challenged in the courtyard after Jesus’ arrest. Today, many people continue to reject and deny Jesus and his teachings.
Jesus, on the other hand, throughout his ordeal, remained totally obedient and faithful to God - never turning away for a moment. Jesus did not really want to die on the cross, but he was obedient to God’s will. The one person he was faithful to through all his trials and tribulations was God. Jesus, like us, was tempted in many ways by Satan, yet he stood firm and loyal to the one person whom he could trust. Jesus’ obedience and faith in God provides an example for us to follow.
We might also reflect on the enormous act of love for each one of us that was demonstrated by God in giving his son for our salvation. It must have been a very painstaking and troubling decision for God to have to allow and watch his one and only son be crucified because the people of the day could not handle the truth and the way of life that Jesus asked them to live.
On Good Friday, our story stops at Jesus’ death on the cross – the horrendous ordeal that he endured through crucifixion. We do know the ending to the story, and on Easter Day will celebrate God’s intervention in his Son’s death. But for today, let us take time to reflect upon the amazing example of trust and obedience that Jesus has given us, as we cope with the ordeal of living through the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
We are also encouraged by the amazing love that God has for all people that led him to provide, through Jesus’ death, a way of salvation.And we can be assured that if we have faith in Jesus, he will always be with us in good times and the bad. Amen.