It’s Good Friday.
That dark day when Christ chose to go to the cross. Out of obedience to the Father. Out of love for us. Out of God’s plan for relationship.
With us. Us whose live’s have been marred by sin. Us who too frequently still choose a sin path in the day to day. Us who are so very unworthy of rescuing, much less redeeming.
It’s the day of Christ’s crucifixion. A day of excruciating physical, emotional and spiritual pain for Him.
I read recently that our word excruciating is based in the Latin root for cross. Crucifixion and excruciating come from the same root word. They would simply have to.
I’ve read the accounts. You know the ones, written by a doctor detailing all that Christ physically endured that day. It brings me to tears just trying to comprehend it, just for me.
I find myself wanting to soak in the gravity of this day, this act that He endured. Somehow, it’s only in beginning to grasp it’s weight that I can even begin to fully understand the impact it has on the purpose of my own days.
But instead this past week has included several moments of cutting words and actions by others. Words that have sought to correct or inform by way of humiliation and shame. I’ve been seeking to process these words and moments as Christ would have me. And I’m realizing that as much as I want to understand and even identify with what Christ went through on my behalf, truth is … I really don’t.
I really don’t want to experience the shame that others tried to heap upon Him throughout His earthly ministry.
When I’m brutally honest with myself, I’m really not all that interested in humility, when it’s on someone else’s terms. I’m more up for choosing to be humble … but only in my own ways, and my time and my controlled situations. Having humiliation throw at me, well that’s another story. And somehow I can walk away from those situations thinking I just may need to set someone straight, in the nicest way of course, because everyone knows the way they just behaved was wrong.
And then I realize, I’ve missed the whole point. I’m not sure humility really is all that humble when it’s displayed in my chosen and tightly controlled setting. Somehow it can only be truly seen in those surprising moments, the ones when we feel attacked.
As Christ shared His final Passover meal with His disciples, He got up and proceeded to wash their feet. Him, their Master, their Savior, their Lord. He stooped to wash their feet. Their filthy dirty feet covered with layers of Jerusalem dirt. Him, in the place of the servant – seeing, loving and honoring those who followed Him.
Suddenly everything is crystal clear. This humbling, this loving others, this honoring others … it’s not about me. It never has been. Just like Christ going to the cross is about others – those he came to redeem.
Our humbling, loving and honoring others is about them, not about us. It’s not about what we may or may not deserve, or what should or shouldn’t happen in a certain situation. It’s about others.
And the only way that can happen is because of Christ and His work on the cross and in our hearts. I’m fully aware that I don’t have it in me, not in my own flesh and blood to be humble, loving or honoring.
But Christ in me, because of His death and resurrection, that is what this life is all about. There are so many opportunities ahead for me to identify with Christ and His sacrifice.
Oh Lord, open my eyes to see them for what they are. And by Your grace, live through me so that others can experience Your love, Your forgiveness and Your honor.
And this? This is how a Friday, so riddled with humiliation and excruciating pain and sacrifice can be a Good Friday after all.