Today is Good Friday, an extremely important day in the church calendar. Good Friday is the day that we take time to remember and reflect on the crucified God, and there is plenty to think about. I have spent much of the last year or so thinking through the cross. What is it about? Why did it happen? How does it change things? Sometimes I feel like I dig up as many questions as I do answers, but it has been a beautiful and enriching experience. So in honor of Good Friday I want to take a second and have us reflect on one of the many things that makes Good Friday so good.d
It is on Good Friday that we see the very nature of God.
This is incredibly good news. If you stare deep into the image of the crucified Jesus you will stare into the true heart of the triune God. One reason that Good Friday is so good is because it is on this day that the notion of a violent vengeful deity finally completely gives way to a self-sacrificing God of unconditional love. It is in Christ that God finally speaks to us (Hebrews 1:2). But not only is it just in the person of Jesus that the Father is revealed (John 1:18), but it is even more specifically revealed by the crucified Christ.
1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Now that in itself is beautiful and comforting, but the bible also tells us specifically how we are to understand love. 1 John 3:16 says that we know what love is by Jesus laying down His life for people who were ungodly and in rebellion. This leads us to understand that God at His very core is the type of love that looks like hanging on wood for enemies. God, at his core, is self-giving and enemy-loving. God is not a Zeus that throws lightning bolts, but a slaughtered lamb that throws Himself in the way of His enemies’ consequences.
I encourage us all to keep this in our mind as we approach Good Friday. As we take the time to slow down and focus our minds and hearts on the events of calvary, pay special attention to submit every notion we have of God to the image we find in the crucified Christ. Focus on the image of an all powerful God who allows His creation to have its way with Him, even kill Him. For there is no other place to fully glimpse the true character of God.
“The God of freedom, the true God, is… not recognized by his power and glory in the history of the world, but through his helplessness and his death on the scandal of the cross of Jesus”
“When the crucified Jesus is called ”the image of the invisible God,“ the meaning is that THIS is God, and God is like THIS.”
-Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology
Image by Carlos via flickr