The first ‘Good Friday’ was a day of death, despair and desolation.
Easter Saturday shows us life with the cross as the final word – a life of grief, hopelessness and guilt.
And this is why Easter speaks right into the angst and struggle of our lives. Jesus said he came not for the ‘healthy’ but for the ‘sick’. Not for the proudly self-sufficient but for those who recognise their need. And Easter shows us how God himself enters that guilt, hopelessness and despair in order to embrace it and overcome it.
Few saw the connection more clearly between the cross and its power to face head on the brokenness of humanity than Martin Luther. Here’s a quote for today from a chapter by Mark Thompson on ‘Luther on Despair’ in the book The Consolations of Theology
Martin Luther was a man who knew despair from the inside and knew it in a remarkably intense way. He did not try to explain it away or dress it up or pretend it wasn’t real. Yet he realised that true theology, a proper understanding of God and his purposes, provides the only genuine and effective counter to despair. The living God is not the impersonal executor of cosmic justice. Rather, the intensity of his involvement with us in the midst of our selfishness and preversity is seen in the gift of his Son.
I love those last two lines.
What are your thoughts on this Good Friday?