Good Friday (B) 2018

The events of Good Friday can evoke much sorrow, grief and guilt.
There is much reference to Christ’s carrying our sins, reconciling us to the Father, paying our debt of sin, being punished for our wrongdoing etc. both in Scripture and in Church teaching.
But this is not the whole story by a long shot.
The life, suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth was not God’s response to the sinfulness of man. It was part of God’s plan, even before the beginning of creation. It was part of Gods plan of self-revelation to creation as creation progressively evolved.
As I have mentioned in previous occasions the catalyst for creation was God’s love. Love is outgoing. Love seeks a lover. Love seeks reciprocating love. To this end God seeks to reveal Itself to the object of Its love. Inanimate and sentient creatures reciprocate God’s love by being what they are. But Human beings, having evolved intelligence and self awareness, can not only reciprocate by being and living in accordance with their created nature but can also know, appreciate and love the Creator.
We, human beings can know God in three ways;
Through the works of God’s hands. Understanding, appreciating and caring for nature.
Studying and understanding Scripture.
Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – God made man.
So the Incarnation (God becoming a human being) was always part of God’s plan of self- revelation to his creation.
This does not mean that God willed that Jesus of Nazareth should be arrested, tortured and executed as a criminal on a cross. What it does mean is that God became a man to demonstrate to us what God was like in the most graphic way possible (by becoming a human being just like you and I). That this demonstration of what God is like, this demonstration of God’s care, compassion, generosity, sharing, forgiveness, tolerance etc. was totally unacceptable to both civil and religious authorities was not God’s doing but the result of human self interest, greed and lust for power.
To foresee this outcome resulting from the preaching and lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth was not difficult. His mother and relatives saw it. (they thought he had lost his mind and came to bring him home). The Apostles saw it and tried to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem. The civil and religious authorities made no secret of their desire to get rid of him.
Obviously Jesus of Nazareth could have walked away from this inevitable outcome at any stage right up to Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. He could easily have taken to his heels and disappeared across the many national boarders in the region at that time. Who would have blamed him?
The answer is He would have blamed himself. He would have surrendered to the forces of injustice and oppression, to the forces of evil in the world.
So he stayed true to his fight for justice and peace. He stayed loyal to his lifestyle and teaching. He stayed true to those suffering injustice and oppression, to those who couldn’t disappear quietly over a border to save themselves. He stayed true to the very core of his message – which is death to self interest and life in service to others.
The message today is that should you or I try to live as Jesus of Nazareth lived.
Should you or I try to truly live as Christians. We too would be such an embarrassment, such a challenge, such a threat, to civil and religious authorities that we too would be, sidelined, defamed, slandered, ridiculed, subverted, laughed out of court and neutralised.
We see this happen every day to people who fight for justice, and peace.
See the fate of whistleblowers.
Just watch those, presently fighting for Gun control in the U.S.