“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. “
(1 Peter 2:24)
Easter Re:visited (Part 2)
I said yesterday that the Easter story is nothing to do with bunnies, or bonnets or easter eggs or chocolate or little fluffy chicks … so then, what it is really about??
The Easter story is firstly the story of a political and religious system heavily invested in protecting their empire and maintaining the status quo.
It’s the story of the attempted suppression of an individual who threatened their power structures by dissenting from their view.
It’s the story of the unjust trial of an innocent man, sentenced to a criminal’s death through the political manipulation of public opinion.
It’s the story of a final meal amongst some brothers and friends, and then a deadly betrayal of a friend with a kiss.
It’s the story of a public flogging and beating, and the dragging of a heavy wooden cross through some busy streets, and up to a city hill-side.
It’s the story of an unthinkably cruel, violent and tortuous death caused by hanging and suffocation, a few words of forgiveness for a convicted criminal, and blood flowing like water as a dying man was pierced with a spear.
It’s the story of a Messiah crying out to God for mercy, announcing “It is finished”, and then breathing his final breathes.
It’s the story of some Roman soldiers confirming the death of their crucified prisoner, and casting lots for their clothes, as the watching crowds slowly dissipates.
And it’s the story of the earth shaking, the sky turning black, and the curtain of the temple being torn in two to signify the full spiritual gravity of what had just happened.
And for the life of me, I’ve never really understood why it’s been labelled ‘Good Friday’ in the christian tradition, as I’m sure that nothing at all felt ‘good’ about this part of the story for any of the original protagonists.
It was a dark and sorrowful day, filled with the scent of death and despair and doubt and fear.
But recently, I think that the penny final dropped. Because perhaps what’s really good about it, is that it speaks into our own human pain and doubt and despair and fear too. It reminds us that God is with us, even in the hardest and most heart-breaking moments of our lives; and it reassures us that He knows every tear and wound.
But most of all, it offers us the reminder that the story didn’t end here … and neither do our stories either.
And in fact, even as the events of that very first ‘Good Friday’ were still unfolding, the next part of the story was already in motion.
So even if it feels like a dark Friday right now, we need never doubt that the resurrection is coming…
READ THE NEXT PART OF THIS SERIES: here