“You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!” (Acts 3:15).
It's Good Friday, and we’re soaked in the first part of this verse. The Writer Himself was killed, the very one who wrote the miracle of life drawn into the lungs of every newborn baby. The miracle of life breath that takes our breath away. Life is literally called “breath” in the Bible. It is the inspiration (the intake of spirit) of breath that brings us life from our Creator.
This time of year we remember the Author of life…was killed. How then, was the source of our inspiration of life seized and killed? How were living things animated by the breath and life that He had written for them allowed to take their own source of life and kill Him? How could they, other than He simply let them?
That is a heavy thing — He let them. The Father let them too. He gave His Son up, led away as the Lamb to slaughter. Led away by violent, ignorant, cruel hands to be killed. How could He? How could the Father let this happen?
When life itself is snuffed out, it is a heavy thing. When we face suffering, it is a heavy thing. When the Author of life was snuffed out, it was epicly unnatural. How could bad things happen other than He allows them to? They couldn’t. As for Christ, He went willingly into suffering. The physical torture was nothing compared to the judgment that swallowed Him in those three dark hours. Humbly, quietly, meekly, He went to the cross and expired for the last time. He willingly gave up His Spirit. Why?
Each of us knows the heartache, the deeply silent moment after the spirit is gone from our loved one. We were not there when Jesus expired, but we know how that final expiration feels. Either literally with the death of a loved one, or figuratively when our spirits have been crushed under the weight of trial. We taste a sample of His suffering.
On that day, hope bled out down a rough, earthy beam. When what should never happen, happened. We know the silence at the end of Good Friday will reach long and drag into the bewilderment of Saturday. They killed the Author of life.
Friday is a dark day. A dark day for all the dark days that we experience. A day of lament for His people. It is good and God honoring, on this dark good day, to linger and lament what should never have been.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
But. (How good there is a “but”!) It’s the “why” that makes deep grief worth it. We can thank God for this dark day because it was His suffering that brought an end to ours. He was sinless, pierced for our sin against a holy God. He fully and finally brought an end to the judgment we deserved. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). What joy? Us. Me. You.
We remember this dark day so long ago because it has daily and hourly significance to our lives today. We are right with God because He lives. We know joy at the end of our suffering because He lives. And live He does! Sunday will come, Good Friday cannot stay forever. Hope has risen.
And we, those bought by His blood, those who humbly acknowledge Him as our only hope, setting aside all our own efforts to struggle to make ourselves right with God, are witnesses of this fact. Witnesses to the world, witnesses that God has done away with our judgment. Witnesses of God’s offer of incredible mercy. We carry Sunday inspiration to a hurting world and share the good news of Christ with any that will listen.
What a deeply grieving Friday people we are. And at the same time, what a hope holding, life breathing, heaven filling, rejoicing Sunday people we are!