Psalm 22:1-11; John 19:1-37
4-18-2003 Good Friday
One of the subtle ironies in the not so subtle movie, "Dead Man Walking" was that at the scene of the man's execution by lethal injection, the movie's producer was careful to show how technicians used standard surgical preparation to sterilize the site of the injection. Now for most people sterilizing the injection site is a good thing because it helps us avoid later infection, but what good does it do a man who is about to be murdered by the state to have his arm prepared to prevent later infections? For this man about to be executed, "later" had no meaning.
Isn't that just human nature to ritualize and observe all kinds of customs around an execution so we won't have to deal with the ghastly fact of state-sponsored murder? Because of the Jewish Passover no one wants to be made unclean by handling a dead body on the Passover, so they send Roman soldiers to make sure Jesus and the other two are already dead and ready for burial before the Passover begins. In other words, the collusion between the Jewish temple priests and the Roman government has just executed the Son of God - and yet the religious customs around not handling a dead body on the Passover must be strictly observed! Do you think that God was pleased by this display of religious piety?
To put this in perspective, the crowd, the government and the religious leaders violate one of the Ten Commandments by killing a man. They have also executed the Son of God in a gruesome manner. When it is all done, they want to make sure they don't mess up their religious festival so they send in the soldiers to break the legs and finish off the men in their agony.
God was not pleased.
A short story by an author I could not remember frames the Good Friday lesson from God's perspective. It is the story of a dustbowl depression era Oklahoma family who make their way back east as far as Memphis where the husband finally ...
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