Good Friday – The Cross

30 Mar

March 30 2018

The carried cross (like St Andrew’s cross) reminds me of school when I got a cross on my work, which I took as a criticism, a blow to my self-esteem and like a punishment. BUT it also – when I was at my best – made me recognise my mistakes, made me want to improve – do better in future, made me want to do better next time – made me want to be the best I could be.

Sometimes Christians focus too much on the cross – on the horror of crucifixion but it was not an uncommon way of execution in those days and in that place. It was for criminals – offenders – so why for Jesus?

Jesus was genuinely human – actually an ideal human. And what do we know of this Jew in his later years (30 was getting on a bit in those days!)?

He had a taxman for one of his friends (they were not the favourites of most people); Matthew and Zacchaeus, the small man up a tree out of curiosity.

He was not afraid to relate to women (though remaining single himself); he was touched by the pushy woman with excessive female bleeding.

He cured the Centurion’s daughter – one of the occupying Roman forces.

He spoke freely with the Samaritan woman at the well – a foreigner from a different Jewish denomination – and more than a bigamist.

He broke religious customs and laws when they were unhelpful to being a caring, helpful person – touching a leper and working a miracle on the Sabbath.

He was even quite rough with the profiteers plying their trade in the Temple courtyard.

 

Jesus showed us what we should aim to be like – he was a human caring for all others as best he could – even at his own expense.

The land he lived in was occupied by the Roman forces; actually the Roman leadership were relatively easygoing on them, not forcing them to conform to the acceptance of many different gods which everyone else in the vast Roman empire were required to do. But the Jews thought their god was the only real one and that He wanted them to have independence from the polytheistic Romans – the people they did not at all love!!

It was this rigid and selfish attitude that caused Jesus trouble. He had become popular with many enthusiastic followers and they thought he might lead their rebellion against the occupying forces especially with his miraculous power and large enthusiastic followers – they had missed the point of his life!

So the Jewish authorities who were co-operating with the Romans probably just to preserve their own leadership positions, these leaders were worried about the crowd pulling success of Jesus and eventually wanted rid of him. And this led to the end on His life in arrest and crucifixion.

But the end of His life was the fulfilment of mission, of his humanity. It was the completion of living here on earth as the ideal human – so his last words according to John’s gospel are “it is completed!” sometimes translated as it is finished, which can give the wrong impression.

This human being – that man – was really one of us, is really the ideal human being, is the challenge for me to be the best human I can be.

So now I want to see the cross as a vote, a decision, and option for something – what does the cross of Christ say to me? I must opt into proper humanity, must try to be the best person I can – a really good human like Him!! Let me vote for that today with my cross!!

And then the cross can become a kiss!

 

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