Why Good Friday is My Favorite

 

     I’ve often heard preachers assert that Easter is more important than Good Friday. “There’s no point to the Cross if there is no Resurrection,” they say. And while I love to celebrate Christ’s triumphant victory (I think we far too often live with a defeatist mindset in the Church), I’d like to suggest that Good Friday is actually the highest and holiest of feast days. It may seem totally backwards and offensive to our clouded minds, but the brutal death of Jesus on the Cross is where God’s glory is most powerfully put on display for all to see.

Christ and Him Crucified

     St. Paul is famous for saying, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Why was Paul so obsessed with the Cruciform God? Because Paul saw that the cruciformity of God’s nature is the FULLNESS of God’s nature. The Crucifixion is where God opened up His heart and showed us all that is inside. This where we get our purest definition of Who God eternally is and what He is eternally like. Herein lies the most outstanding of beauties!

     At the Cross, we see that being King of Kings looks like being the Servant of All.

     At the Cross, we see that being Omnipotent looks like being laid down and broken in selfless love.

     At the Cross we see that true strength looks like power under restraint, poured out in sacrifice.

     At the Cross we hear God Himself saying, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

     Here we learn that the Lord’s desire to offer mercy, to have relationship with us, to practice vulnerability, and to embody a genuinely unconditional love is not just part of His agenda. It is His agenda. All other character traits we might attribute to Him must be re-defined in light of this mind-blowing moment of clarity.

The Way God Operates

“His defeat is itself His breakthrough.”

     Jesus hanging on the Tree is the Logos — the logic of God. He may look defeated, but His defeat is itself His breakthrough. In shedding His blood and releasing His last breath, Jesus finished the work that needed to be done, once and for all (see John 17:4, John 19:30, Romans 6:10, and Hebrews 10:10). We might even go so far as to consider the idea that Resurrection is only the fruit and the affirmation of Christ overcoming the “wisdom of this world” on Calvary. His atoning sacrifice is where He carried out His own Sermon-on-the-Mount philosophy for life to its fullest extent.

     What a success!

     Our hearts are not won to the Lord because He has coerced us into worshiping Him. We are won by the bleeding heart of the Lord that loves us to no end. Likewise, we in turn extend His grace to others not by pressuring them, convincing them with arguments, or giving them threats of retribution.

     We choose the low road. This is the Way of the Cross.

Isaiah 55…

return to the Lord…for he will abundantly pardon.
‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.
‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are My ways higher than your ways
    and My thoughts than your thoughts…'”

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Media Digest 1/18/18

     A great deal of what I like to post on this site is media content from other providers whose work I found impressive or helpful. I consume so much media on a regular basis, and I love to share the highlights of what I am finding. I don’t feel like an article or podcast or video is fully appreciated until it is shared. And, for one reason or another, I don’t want to post it all on my social media accounts.

     That said, I’ve decided I will occasionally make a single post sharing some of the best media content I have read, watched or listened to lately. Some content might still deserve a review in its own post in order to highlight it, but that will be on special occasions.

     Feel free to check these “Media Digests” out for great places to turn for thoughtful, edifying material to study or entertain your mind with!

     So far this week…

  • Bruxley Cavey on “Hell”

     A friend introduced me to this YouTube channel featuring a pastor named Bruxley Cavey. I was really impressed with him in these two episodes on the topic of “Hell.” Bruxley reexamines what Scripture has to say about how we define Hell, and he gives a very well-argued case against believing in eternal conscious torment. 

     I feel like Bruxley brought a lot of knowledge to the table concerning this topic that I had never considered before….

  • “The Dr. King You Never Knew”

     Attorney Breanne Palmer wrote a great article in honor of Dr. King that was published on Relevant Magazine’s website. The article brings a good reminder that, though we do seek pure and peaceful means for societal transformation, this does not mean we run from being seen as a “trouble maker.” King, a model reformer, was very confrontational in his pursuit for justice. This is what is required to really follow through on what we have conviction about.

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Speaking Up in A Polarized World

As Christians, how do we both fulfill our role to be peacemakers and to boldly speak the Truth in the face of resistance?

In today’s society, people are so polarized between strikingly different perspectives on what is right and what is wrong. During the election season last year I had friends on both the Left and the Right talking as if the other sides’ candidate might be the anti-Christ and might want to put masses of people in concentration camps. Both sides really believed this was a threat. It can be VERY intimidating in this type of context to try to share your perspective with someone who is passionately devoted to a viewpoint opposing your own.

How does one implement the biblical notion of “speaking the truth in love” in such a culture this divided by hostility?

The following are a few resources I have found to provide helpful counsel for approaching the landmine of political/social/theological conversations in this day and age. I would encourage anyone who is seeking to mature in the ability to handle these tense situations in a Christ-like manner to explore the following list of materials.

Note: You will notice that some of these resources deal directly with Trump’s election or other hot-button issues. I do not always agree with all of the stances held by people in these various forms of media. I DO value and learn from their approach to walking in civility, however. I would highly recommend all believers learn from the posture they take.

Enjoy!

The Resources:

How to Have Better Political Conversations by Robb Willer

8 Tips for Talking to Your Family About Trump by Christina Cleveland

Pluralism Doesn’t Mean Relativism by John Inazu

10 Reasons to Be Humble Toward Opponents by Andrew Davis

How to Avoid Being An Ass While Telling the Truth by Mike McHargue

The Thing in the Air | Part 1 – Our Body by Rob Bell

Four Tips to Disagree Well by Jacob T. Murphy

The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus of Nazareth

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