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Thoughts for Good Friday

At first people didn’t notice how remarkable of a man Jesus was. There is very little record of his early years and essentially nothing of his early adulthood. But it wasn’t long before people saw him healing the sick and calming the seas. Even the wind and waves obey him.

I love how Sally Lloyd-Jones puts it in her Jesus Storybook Bible “the wind and the waves recognized Jesus’ voice.” This unstately, unassuming man had the voice of their creator.

Thinking about Jesus as creator, puts many of the events of Good Friday in a new light. When Jesus died nature itself began to cry out in mourning. We are told that the sky went dark (Matt 27:45). An earthquake shook the ground till rocks were split (27:51). Just as with the plagues in Egypt the very fabric of creation seemed to be undoing itself.

Later Paul tells us that even now all creation groans, longing to be set free from bondage (Rom 8:20-22).

So a good exercise for Good Friday is to ask which parts of creation you hear groaning. Every day cancer cells destroy lives. People experience tragedy or chronic pain that makes it hard to think about anything else. People go to work and come home and everything about their efforts feels empty and futile.

Whatever groaning you hear, I hope the crashing, rock-splitting rumble of the earthquake breaks through it. The rumble tells us that there is a bigger hope than just feeling better about ourselves. Its roar reminds us that something bigger than individual healing or even than individual salvation is at stake. The rumble is so loud that we should have to shout to hear over it. The creator himself is setting things right; he will make all things new.

With all this in mind it is hard not to hear some of Christ’s final words on the cross in a new light.

“It is finished.”

We recognize that voice. It is the same voice that declared creation “very good” and rested from his finished work on the seventh day. We still hear groaning today because we still await the final resurrection, but the work is finished and our hope is secure.

That seemingly unimportant man was the Creator. And the Creator has spoken.

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