“Every day is a good day. But some other days are just better”. One of such days is Good Friday! A day in which death is swallowed up by the death of the Only Begotten Son of God. This is “Triumph Through Trial”! Good Friday, is by no means good by any human standard. But that was what the Lord chose to save the world; to die for love of the world. John 3:16 says that:”For God so loved the world, that he gave his onl-y Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” According to Very Rev. Fr. Eddie Hartnett, SMA,”It was not the suffering of Jesus that saved the world. But his love for the world.” And Jesus himself would say in John 15:13,”Greater love has no one than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” So for the love of the world, Christ died on the cross of Calvary. However, in giving this eternal love, Jesus encountered very great and excruciating pains, pains that can be said to be physical, emotional and spiritual. He died for us while we were still sinners. Someone once said,”All men are born to live. Jesus was born to die”. How true it is for Jesus.
He was denied and betrayed, rejected, accused falsely and condemned to a criminal and shameful death. The most bitter part of all these is the seemingly rejection by the Father at this moment of pains. It was as if the Father was not just listening to his cries of pains and for help. No wonder, he cried in a loud voice:”My God, My God why have thou forsaken me?”(Psalm 22:2). Hence, love made Jesus to remain on the Cross for the salvation of the world, not sins, not sufferings. It is necessary here to note that what Jesus said in prophecy at the Last Supper came alive at Calvary on the Cross:”- This is my body which will be given up for you.” And “This is my blood which will be poured out for you.” This is even more so as there can never be remission of sins without the shedding of blood. Therefore, Jesus shed his blood on the Cross so that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins. (Heb. 9:11-28). Thus, without the death of Jesus through the Cross, life is meaningless and the world’s sufferings incomprehensible. The question,”Why evil in the world?” is fully answered by the death of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus therefore is our inspiration and hope in every kind of human sufferings.
His death on the Cross gives us the assurance that we too can overcome all forms of human sufferings: Poverty, starvation, terminal disease, marriage difficulties, family challenges, personal and habitual problems, etc. But we need to be obedient to the Father as Jesus was. Isaiah 53:4-5, particularly stated,”Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Today, there are many who are living as enemies of the Cross of Christ. They reject every suffering that comes their way. It’s prosperity or nothing. No wonder, they can take to depression and suicide if nothing goes well for them. St. Paul in Phil. 3:18 says, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ”. How true is this of many in our days, even Christians. Dear brothers and sisters, with the passion, death and the resurrection of Jesus, no one should live a hopeless and useless life.
We all have our future even though our past hunt us. Let’s not be discouraged. Let’s never think that any sin of ours is greater than Jesus’ love. No matter what our past has been we can always begin anew. We must therefore embrace the crosses of our lives so that we too can earn the power and glory of heaven. Indeed, God is like a Sculptor-Creator who chisels us through pains (Artistic Sculptor). He sees potential for greatness in us. Then he chisels us through pains and sufferings and come out with beautiful piece of art. So, let us allow ourselves to be chiseled by the Lord that we may come out perfect and beautiful. The last phrase of Jesus on the Cross speaks volume of our divine relationship with him: “It is finished” he said. From Greek “Telestai”, it means “Paid in Full”. Everything about our debts to God, the world, and even to Satan had all been paid in full by the death of Jesus on the Cross.