Good Friday

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

Today is “Good Friday.” It’s a time when we remember the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ at the hands of wicked men. As we read the account of the crown of thorns placed on His head, and how men then beat on His head with a rod, as we read about the scourging He endured, the plucking out of His beard, and the spitting in His face, does it all sicken you? Do you wonder how one person could treat another so cruelly? Here was One Who had never sinned against anyone in any way, and yet they crucified Him, taking pleasure in their sadistic actions all the while. Surely, we would never do such a thing, would we?

But then as we look back over man’s history, we see the same sadism played out time after time. Think of the holocaust. How human beings could do such things to other human beings is hard to comprehend. Then, on Tuesday morning, a man walked onto a subway in New York City and started shooting people, wreaking havoc into their lives. It’s just the latest episode of such mass shootings. It happens all the time. And then each morning since February 24 we hear and read about the latest atrocities in Ukraine. Bombs raining down on people who were simply living their lives. Elderly women being raped in their own homes while their husbands are forced to watch. Does it sicken you? Surely, we would never do such things!

But then I think of the most innocent beings on the planet, the little children in the womb. Helpless, at our mercy, “the least of these,” in the most drastic sense. And what are we doing to them, here in this much more moral country who would never do as Russia is doing to Ukraine? We are slaughtering them by the millions. Using chemical poisons or tearing them limb from limb, we are doing the most wicked imaginable things to the most vulnerable members of our human family. And although we may have never done such a thing personally, we are voting in legislators and presidents that make the “right” to continue the slaughter a highlight on which they run. It’s all nothing but ruthless wickedness.

And so on this “Good Friday,” while we mournfully think about the wickedness of man towards man, let’s not lose sight of the same wickedness that continues to this day. Let’s remember that the way the Lord views any action towards “the least of these” is as an action towards Him. But then, incredibly, when the guilt of it all settles in, lets also recall the offer of forgiveness that came from the lips of this crucified One. As He hung on the cross and endured the brutality of men, He said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All the while they were casting lots for his clothes. May the Lord open our eyes to Who Jesus is and what our sin has done to Him. May the Lord open our eyes to what our sin continues to do to those He loves. And may the Lord give us the wisdom to turn to Him for forgiveness, and receive the incredible gift of a grace that is greater than all our sin.

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