10 April 2009

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day when Christians all over the world remember Jesus' death on the cross.

Over at TV Tropes we have a fairly large category called "Crowning Moment of Awesome", which details awesome moments that occur in fiction and also in real life.

We don't have a section on religion, but if we did, the Crucifixion would have to go on the last.

I've been spending some time over the last few days thinking about the whole story of Holy Week. There are just so many great aspects of it, that show just how amazing God is.

The entry into Jerusalem. Jesus comes into a city on a donkey and people mob him. I'm guessing the palm leaves were for the colt, to protect its feet. That donkey must have had a great story to tell to his peers for the rest of his life. It's also entirely different to traditional triumphant entries- but Jesus was no conventional hero. He was- and still is- so much cooler.

He never ran any earthly body, never ran for office. His only paid job was as a self-employed carpenter. He lived for 33 and a third years. He wrote no books and directly preached to only a few hundred thousand.

Yet this man, the Son of God, has influenced the entire of global history for the past 2000 years. That shows the power of God. Thanks to Jesus, many, many good works have been done as well. I admit that he has been misused for evil by many people, but the good he has achieved far out weighs that. Do you think that we'd have as little poverty as we do in this country without the impact of Christianity?

The Gospels differ over when precisely Jesus cast out the money-changers from the Temple. I'm perfectly happy for him to have done it twice. It's a dramatic enough event and shows a side of Jesus that people sometimes ignore. Yes, he is nice, but he can also be very angry at times.

He used skilled rhetoric and intelligence, not force of arms, to attack the corrupt society of his day. If it wasn't for Jesus, we'd have far more wars these days.

The authorities felt threatened by him. The powerful generally don't like anything that threatens their own position. In this case, the High Council were worried about their income from sacrifices and endangering their own good relations with an imperialist force. So, they falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy, subjected him to an unfair trial and executed him.

On to the Last Supper. Few of us know precisely when we are going to die. It tends to come rather suddenly. Those who know to the precise hour tend to be facing execution.

The Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus must have been terrified. He knew, he knew, that in less than 24 hours, he was going to be flogged, stripped naked and nailed to a cross. He was going to be taunted by a crowd who had earlier supported him and then he was going to die.

He knew he had a way out- he could have fled Jerusalem altogether. He knew Judas was going to betray him- he could have killed him. Yet he chose to face his fate.

He could have made a spectacular demonstration of his power and come off the cross. That would be the predictable thing to do. But Jesus was anything but predictable.

In fact, the evidence of what was going to happen was there, people just interpreted it wrongly.

It had to happen this way. If Jesus had done the "predictable" thing, people wouldn't have believed him.

Witness the Resurrection. It was observed by two women. Women didn't have much respect in society back then.

Jesus was spectacular by not being spectacular. In fact he still is. In the continuing provision for us, the hope he has offered for millions (I am sure many more suicides would occur without Jesus helping people), the miracles that still occur, he shows the awesome power of God.

Happy Easter.

No comments: