Good Friday, 15th April 2022

And so we come again to that day like no other, known variously amongst Christians around the world as Holy Friday, Black Friday, Great Friday, or, as with us, Good Friday. We stand, once more, at the Cross of Calvary, heart-broken and grieving at the cruel death of Jesus. Our Master is taken from us by his enemies, turned into some broken victim, exposed to the elements and the jeering mockery of the crowd. And all we can do is stand and watch, for we are truly powerless.

Reflecting on this scene, some have wanted to emphasize that here God finally deals with the problem of human sin, for Jesus is the scapegoat, taking upon himself the sin of the world and the punishment that that sin deserves. God’s justice is thus seen to be done, even if it means the death of the Son of God.

For some of us perhaps that picture is overly concerned with strict legal process, misshaped further by concepts of the satisfaction of debt to some feudal lord. It’s Luke who tells us that Jesus’ last cry is the prayer, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:44). With his final breath, despite all he’s been through and how he seems to have been abandoned to his fate, he commits himself into the care of the One who is his Father, not some dispassionate judge.

We who remain standing there in shock at what we witness must take heart from that. Even in the darkest places and worst of scenes, we are held in the hands of the God who receives us in love.

Ken Stewart