"Good Friday": Death on a Friday Afternoon " Forgive them Father for they know not what they do"
Part 1 of 7
In the Christian understanding of reality, all reality turns around the mystery of the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
These events are referred to as "the Paschal Mystery" in the Catholic church.
"The word paschal comes from the Hebrew word for Passover—the event in Exodus where the death angel passed over all the homes that had the blood of a lamb on the lintel and door posts but brought death to the firstborn in all houses that did not have the blood. The word mystery refers to something that cannot be known except by grace and revelation—a person cannot figure it out on his own (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).
Together, the terms are used to refer to the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of Jesus Christ The paschal mystery involves the final Passover Lamb who died so that God’s judgment will “pass over” those who have applied His blood by faith.." from the article: What is the paschal mystery?
Sadly many Christians today are sensitive and will turn away from the suffering our Lord endured on the cross.
Yet this is necessary for us to understand the depth of God's sacrifice for our salvation.
The Love That Moves the Sun and All the Other Stars (Dante)
There is nothing more crucial or central to Christianity than what happened on "Good Friday". Many Christians lack interest and unbelievers will use it as an excuse to avoid the faith.
(Crucial comes from the Latin "crux" or cross.)
"Axis Mundi" - The Center Upon Which the Cosmos Turns
The world, all of us are entangled with the events of Holy Week.
We deny it, we ignore it and some scorn it yet the reality remains regardless of our truth denial and sinful attitudes.
The cruelty of Good Friday turns our stomachs, and it should. The sins we regularly commit are reflected in the horrid death Christ experienced.
In Christ's death is our life and our death!
A sober and honest reflection on our lives reveals that we are all prodigal sons who has wandered and wasted our lives in a distant country. There is no going back, no redoes. The way forward in our lives is always through the cross.
Our lives are only reconciled when we see our lives in the life and death of Christ.
The Real World
What we experience now in this moment and have experienced all our lives is life in that distant country. Everything and everyone is broken, broken of soul, heart and mind.
If God lets you live long enough you begin to feel the results of your sinful nature in the debility of your body. The aging process is death from sin. We should acknowledge it and confess it.
We take the narcotic of denial and pretend we are of no account.
Take all that life has been for you, the broken relationships, the hopes for success, the fears of failure, divorce, you name it and then take it all and hoist it up to the cross and place it upon Christ's back.
This my friends is the real world.
Matthew 11: 28 - 30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
2 Corinthians 5:19
..that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
The Truth of Good Friday - Christ's Seven Last Statements
Christ's seven last statements are taken from the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The events of Good Friday is what created the pattern of Christian Existence.
Christ's seven last statements were:
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
"Woman, behold your son, Son, behold your mother."
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
"It is finished."
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Our Complicity in the Brokenness of the World
Right now in 2023 many people want to blame the sin and evil in our culture and the world on each other or a political party.
No one wants to step up and admit complicity.
But we ALL are complicit.
And as you stand there now in your minds eye and imagine our Lord Jesus on the cross consider your complicity in him being there.
Yes resurrection is coming but reality requires we look upon that which we are responsible for.
The late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, "Some are guilty, all are responsible."
And the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, " The line between good and evil runs through every human heart."
You see the big sins of Hitler, Stalin, mass murders and all of the spectacular sinners are no different then the sins you and I harbor in our hearts. Hearts which by the way are seen and understood by God every moment of every day.
We cannot draw a line between the sins of these people and ourselves.
Nor can we fix ourselves through technology, liberal thinking, politics, and all the lusts of our heart accomplished only lead to destruction. America is reaping what we have sowed and the gods of evil are returning at our request.
The more we reject Christ and the Gospel the more we invite evil and depravity into our lives and culture.
We Can't Fix It
All of us collectively, each of us individually are incapable of making right all the murders, beatings, rapes, torture, the evil of war (Ukraine) that are occurring at this very moment.
We can't even keep our own lives in order.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
If we can't fix it someone else must.
Today as it becomes more acceptable to conclude that Aliens (for example) are here to save us, as more and more alternative and therapeutic spiritual pursuits present "easy buttons" that require no repentance or accountability. As all of this is consumed by the masses of desperate people humanity across the planet continues to breakdown.
We cannot save ourselves, it is folly!
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
It has been said what the first Adam destroyed the second Adam has restored.
Even today we attempt to name good and evil, we steal and retreat into unknown lands, and we declare God guilty and blame him for our sin and evil.
The reality of the cross is looking at our true natures.
True man and true God has required us to see ourselves as we are!
This is but one reason it is called Good Friday!!