Today is Good Friday…arguably the most conflicting day in all of history. It’s the day Jesus – the promised Messiah – was crucified, and died. Instead of conquest and deliverance, there was scorn, grief, confusion, terror. Hope crushed.
There’s a beautiful post written by A Penitent Blogger some years ago about the ugliness of salvation. It is only in hindsight that we can see the beauty of that day’s terrible events.
And you begin to understand why Christianity is not a religion simply formed around a wise teacher. Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Lose your life to find it. None of these provide the catalyst to launch a world-changing faith. Take up your cross daily – who wants to rally around that? And perhaps more revealingly, Peter, following Pentecost doesn’t stand up and declare “I preach this Jesus, who spoke the Beatitudes!”
No, over and over again through the book of Acts, Peter proclaims, “this Jesus, whom you put to death, and who God raised from the dead!” The resurrection is the single most significant factor of the Christian faith. It’s the reason we come together this weekend, with millions of believers around the world everywhere, to celebrate our “ugly” salvation. Because it is “the Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it…that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
Death isn’t the last word anymore. Death has become life. And ugliness becomes beautiful.