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Lent 2011

The Gift of Good Friday

Day 45: Good Friday

By Carmen Faye Sanford-Vianese, director, Women's Division

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals—so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

—Isaiah 52:13–53:12


Many of us know the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each one is written with a slightly different perspective, and all four of them contain detailed accounts of the events of this day, Good Friday.

However, there is another book that describes these events, and it has been referred to as the Fifth Gospel: the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The scripture lesson from Isaiah for this Good Friday sounds like an eyewitness to Jesus' crucifixion, but we know that Isaiah penned his words about 600 years before the events of Good Friday actually occurred.

As we read the words, it's as if Isaiah were standing beneath the cross describing the torture Jesus endured

How could this be? Lets reflect on the words once more:

If I had been Isaiah and had seen the vision he describes, I would have shuddered as I retold the vision to others. As we read the words, it's as if Isaiah were standing beneath the cross describing the torture Jesus endured. His words reflect an objectivity that the disciples could not have had that day and a sense of assurance that the Savior was going the way that had been intended for him to go.

The point that Isaiah was making is that you and I are the ones who deserve to be crucified and rejected by God, not Jesus. Why? Because like the sheep that Isaiah speaks about, we have gone astray, and we have chosen time and time again to go our own way. We have rejected God as the ruler of our hearts, and to do so is to live in iniquity, a state that we cannot make up for nor free ourselves from.

Isaiah also foretold of God's plan to fix it all. God would have to take on our iniquity. To do so, God had to become a human being who could experience physical death.

So that's where we find Jesus on this day of our Lenten journey, carrying the cross of our sins and our wrongdoings. He was there out of Love, giving his human body to the affliction and suffering that we deserve, all the while praying to God for our forgiveness. Today, we can still find him there, next to God interceding for us, asking for God's forgiveness of our continued sins and daily wrongdoings.

Good Friday is a gift. It is a blessing from our Savior. May we never forget the sacrifice or the daily intercession that Jesus does for each and everyone of us!

Prayer

Gracious God, we cannot thank you enough for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Forgive us we pray, for the things we do each day that hurt others and ourselves. Help us to be a voice of justice and peace. Help us to be the disciples you have designed us to be as we answer the call of mission and grace within our communities and beyond. Thank you for the gift of Good Friday. Amen.

Last Updated: 04/15/2014
 
 

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