Friday, April 6, 2012
Great and Holy Friday
I found this modern-day icon (from the Coptic church) that I thought was interesting. It shows the usual things - the three crucified, the women and John at the foot of the cross, angels - but I thought this had more focus on the soldiers than other icons I have seen. The spear is there, the sponge with sour wine given Jesus near the end, and the soldier on horse back who proclaimed "Truly, this was the Son of God!" But the most striking feature is the light coming from Jesus. Here, on the cross, is the Sun of Righteousness, the Light of the world. If you want to know God and His love, here it is. You will not see it more brightly and clearly than here!
That, I believe, is the message of this day. Do not feel sorry for poor Jesus on the cross. That is the temptation. See the great price of your sin, yes; but see even more the love of God for you that is greater than you can imagine. The angels were at the ready around Jesus. Like He said in the Garden of Gethsemane: a word from Him and they would be there in full force, fighting for Him and rescuing Him. In this icon they are there . . . but no word from Jesus. He will not. He speaks, but not for Himself. He will stay and pay, He will redeem us and save us. Nothing else is on His mind but you. Your good, your life, your salvation. Not His own. Today He dies so we might live.
Thanks be to God!