When I was 5 years old and getting ready to enter kindergarten, there was so much excitement. A new school meant many other “new” things would come with it. New clothes to wear, new supplies to break in and new friends to be made. All seemed right in this “new” phase of life.
What I didn’t know was that there was another requirement before entering the public school system. My mom took me to the pediatrician’s office for what she assured me was just another step in getting ready for the “big school.” They just want to make sure all the kids are healthy before they come to school. Seemed harmless enough.
After many tears and much screaming, my mom along with several nurses, pinned me down to “administer the injections.” For much of the appointment they had been saying that word. Injection. I finally caught on when the nurse came in with a silver tray of pointy things. (No thank you!)
“It’s good for you,” they said. “It will only hurt for a minute,” they said.
I’m sure you can relate on some level right? Something that happened in your past, you were told would – in the end – be “good” for you.
Jesus told his disciples this too.
How can it be good that Jesus leave? And after such a short time.
How can it be good for the One that taught them how to love, because after all He IS love, to now no longer minister along side them?
If I were there amongst the disciples, I would have protested as well.
For context, the book of John is 21 chapters long. It covers Jesus’ birth, youth, calling, baptism, temptation, ministry, death, burial and resurrection. Five of the chapters, FIVE, are dedicated to a time span of what was probably 6 hours or so. That’s about 25% of the whole book of John.
Try and go with me to the upper room that last night with Jesus.
When we first arrived, Jesus insisted on washing our feet. But why? Jesus, was MY feet? He told Peter that if He didn’t, then we wouldn’t belong to Him.
(( What does that even mean? ))
Over the course of our traditional passover meal together He keeps telling us that He will only be with us for a short while longer. And when asked if we may join Him, He says we cannot.
He keeps reminding us of so many things that He has said to us before. Things like, “I’m going to prepare a place for you, and I will come for you when the time is right.” He says He’s leaving us, but not abandoning us.
He says if doesn’t go, then the Helper won’t come.
He is explaining that He is the vine, and we are the branches. If we don’t stay connected, we’ll wither and die, not producing any fruit.
He says he is reminding us of all this so that we will not abandon our faith.
We will have trials. We will have suffering.
He says the world will hate us.
He takes the bread and breaks it, explaining as he does so that His body will be broken on our behalf. After that, He takes the wine and says it is the blood of the New Covenant He is making. That we should take and eat and drink of it, and when we do it from this time forward, do it in remembrance of Him.
I don’t know about you, but at this point my mind is reeling.
(( What is going on? ))
It wasn’t until recent years that I understood why we call it Good Friday. It sure never seemed to me that it was good. Why would we call the day our Savior was nailed to a tree, “good?”
Friend, there are many things in this world that seem chaotic right now. We can’t keep straight what days are which, or if we should laugh or cry. When the future seems so unknown, and that’s because to us, it is. It truly always has been.
What a gift to have to pause. What a pleasant change of pace, that I know I personally have been craving for far too long, not knowing how to truly attain it.
Friend, God is in control.
He is still seated on the throne. He still holds this whole world in his hands.
It’s so important that we take today to remember what Good Friday really is. What really happened on that day more than 2,000 years ago, and what it really means for us today in the year 2020.