Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Friday meditations : A feast for your heart

Good Friday is just a few days away. This is the first year I have observed lent, having given up Facebook for the duration. This week we mourn our sin and celebrate the cross and its triumphal results for us, the fallen. I don't often allow myself or rather make myself ponder the reality of the cross- what it must have been like to have the weight of the sin of the entire world crushing down on you. Truth be told, I've heard it so many times I've become numb to it. I hate the numbness, so I begged for God to reveal this story to me in a new way.

Over the past few months I've been reading sermons from George MacDonald's "Unspoken Sermons". Like CS Lewis, he is one of the few people who act upon their spiritual liberty, dreaming up new ways to tell old stories, to wake my slumbering heart. Here he expounds upon the exclamation of Christ on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Trembling in humility to ask what might have been going on in Jesus' head at that moment:

"And now, after three years of divine action, when his course is run, when the old age of finished work is come, when the whole frame is tortured until the regnant brain falls whirling down the blue gulf of fainting, and the giving up of the ghost is at hand, when the friends have forsaken him and fled, comes the voice of the enemy again at his ear: "Despair and die, for God is not with thee. All is in vain. Death, not Life, is thy refuge. Make haste to Hades, where thy torture will be over. Thou hast deceived thyself. He never was with thee. He was the God of Abraham. Abraham is dead. Whom makest thou thyself?" "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" the Master cries. For God was his God still, although he had forsaken him—forsaken his vision that his faith might glow out triumphant; forsaken himself? no; come nearer to him than ever; come nearer, even as—but with a yet deeper, more awful pregnancy of import—even as the Lord himself withdrew from the bodily eyes of his friends, that he might dwell in their profoundest being....This is the Faith of the Son of God. God withdrew, as it were, that the perfect Will of the Son might arise and go forth to find the Will of the Father. Is it possible that even then he thought of the lost sheep who could not believe that God was their Father; and for them, too, in all their loss and blindness and unlove, cried, saying the word they might say, knowing for them that God means Father and more, and knowing now, as he had never known till now, what a fearful thing it is to be without God and without hope? I dare not answer the question I put."

Most Christians have been told at some point in their lives that Jesus was thinking of them on the cross. But what beautiful new imagery of Jesus Christ, our intercessor, the One who goes before us, uttering what we cannot utter to the Father. What magnificent empathy, completely unfathomable to us, that He must have felt for His children who did not then and still do not respond to the love He so freely offers. I'm blown away. Completely ruined. My heart will never know a Lover as sweet as Jesus. 

As we prepare for Good Friday and then Easter, let your heart feast upon the love of Christ. Who in the darkest moment of the universe was faithful, crying out even without sight or feeling that God was still His. Who rent the curtain of the tabernacle making a way for us to march boldly inside and dwell with our Maker. Who not only thought of us in those last moments but spoke on behalf of us. He truly is a friend of sinners.


  1. To be completely candid with you, Charissa, I don't understand what he's saying! I guess I'll have to read it a couple more times. :-)

  2. Hey Aunt Lisa. Yea, George MacDonald tends to be a bit verbose. Sometimes it's little hard cut through to what he's trying to say. But here, I think he's just pondering another facet of the victory of the cross. Namely, that not only did Jesus beat sin, but He exemplified the most profound faithfulness in the fact that He was still able to say, "My God" even as he felt forsaken. As MacDonald said, "His faith glowed our triumphantly" in that moment. Further down the quote he is merely wondering, in keeping with Jesus' character, if in that moment of crying out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" he was also thinking of us. Or even more beautiful still, (in my opinion) thinking of those who have not and no not believe in Him. Those that are "without hope and without God". He's wondering if Jesus, in the moment when he felt forsaken by God, was able to completely empathize with those who have not tasted and seen that the Lord is good. It's a really amazing thing to think about....

  3. Our kids were just asking us about how God could abandon Jesus especially since he is one with Him in the Trinity. So we talked about it and read all of Psalm 22 that Jesus was quoting. They were so excited because they thought it was like a secret code and they were getting the rest of the message since Jesus couldn't say all of it when he was suffering and dying on the cross....Glorious! Love you!

  4. Oops! My "leftover" alias attached to my comment...Cookie Jar Jones is Andrea! :)