by Dr. Linda Brupbacher
Mark 15: 1-39
When I was a young child, I remember thinking. “How can anyone call the day when Jesus was crucified good?” It all sounded pretty tragic even horrific to me. I was right about the horrific part. Crucifixion was an incredibly painful and humiliating way to die: a type of death reserved for the worst criminals. It’s hard to even imagine the kind of pain and humiliation Jesus endured. He died for us. However, his slow, torturous and degrading crucifixion went well beyond just dying.
I’ve sometimes wondered why He had to die in such an absolutely awful way. Couldn’t our loving and all powerful God have figured out something easier and gentler: something more humane? Jesus expressed a similar notion in the Garden of Gethsemane. In preparation for what He knew was to come, Jesus had taken time to be by himself: to think and to pray. It’s a good model for us when we are facing difficult challenges. When He asked if He could be spared death on the cross, God’s answered, “No.” Crucifixion was necessary. It clearly and tangibly demonstrated the extent of God’s love for us, and it paid a steep enough price sufficient to redeem all of humanity.
As my young child’s mind questioned the goodness of Good Friday, I failed to realize that without His death, there could be no resurrection—no Easter and no eternal life. Jesus suffered and died so that we might truly live: now and forever. But He didn’t just die. He rose from the dead. It is the reason for and result of His death that causes today to very appropriately be called Good Friday. It is the essence of the promise we share this day and every day.
It is difficult to really comprehend the magnitude of what You suffered for us. Help us be aware of, accept and truly appreciate the immensity of Your redeeming, transforming love: all that You have done and continue to do for us and through us. Help us to follow Your model of taking time alone to think and pray as a way of preparing ourselves for whatever is next in our lives. Help us live each day with the sure knowledge of Your love, power and continuing presence in our lives.
Excerpted from a Holy Week Devotional Guide written for South Main Baptist Church in 2011