Capital punishment was common is Jesus’ time (as it is unfortunately still today in many places). Crucifixion was nothing new. So why is this crucifixion so well noted?

In the face of the madness of capital punishment, can we believe that God can defeat even death? An innocent man hangs, willingly, without fighting the injustice served to him–why? What reason would someone have for doing this?

God goes to our death, a horrible unjust death, so that we might believe in God. Not merely because of our own faults that cause the rift between God and humanity, do we watch the cross today. It is not merely because God offers himself for our sins that we watch an execution. Rather, it is because we lack faith at times in believing that God can make all things new again. That God always offers us something else. That in our death and in the death of each and every person, God also offers us life eternal.

Jesus shares in our death to help us understand that we need not fear death. That death no longer has power over us. That God always defeats the power of darkness.

Today, we sit in darkness until the light of the Easter candle breaks through that eerie blackness. We are uncomfortable in this darkness and in our own dark places—where we often believe that God can never break into and change for the better. Our sinfulness seems to be stuck on us never to be removed.

But as the nails are removed from the hands and feet of Christ today and he is removed from the symbol of execution, can we believe that something else has been given to us other than a dead body? Can we believe that God will come again breaking down the doors of darkness and rising to new life?

Each time we end up in the darkness can we return to find light breaking in somehow, somewhere. If we can then we can truly call this Friday “Good” because we can say that we are a faithful people–filled with the hope of the Easter morn and not overcome by the darkness of one more crucifixion.

This time, we can see beyond the cross. We can see clearly that Jesus has defeated death. We can wear the executioner’s cross around our necks because we have that faith that brings us to life eternal.

Let us rejoice in the Friday that is Good. Because there is more to this crucifixion than we could have ever imagined.

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