An old Hasidic rabbi, Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev in the Ukraine, used to say that he discovered a meaning of love from a drunken peasant. Entering a tavern in the Polish countryside, he saw two peasants at a table, both gloriously in their cups. Each was protesting how much he loved the other, when Ivan said to Peter: “Peter, tell me what hurts me?” Bleary-eyed Peter looked at Ivan: “How do I know what hurts you?” Ivan’s answer was swift: “If you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say you love me?”
I have no clue why they call the Friday Jesus was crucified: Good. It’s bewildering why call something so atrocious and bloody with emotional, verbal, and physical abuses good. I haven’t done my homework on the history of how it became so… I just want to think about something good about that day: It was the day He forgave all my sins from eternity to eternity and declared, “It’s finished.”
He knew what hurt people then and He knows now. He loves with a depth that escapes human comprehension. I read a true story of a minister who simply bottomed out and abandoned his family, he fled to a logging camp in New England. One wintry afternoon as he sat shivering in his aluminum trailer, the portable electric heater suddenly quit and died. Cursing this latest evidence of a hostile universe, the minister shouted, “God, I hate You!” then sank to his knees weeping. There in the bright darkness of faith, he heard Christ say: “I know; it’s okay.” Then this shattered man heard Jesus weeping within him. The minister stood up and started home.
Good Friday makes me see that the Lord is so fine-tuned to the hates and loves, disappointments and delights, brokenness and togetherness, the fears, shame, joys, and sorrows of each of us. That he knows what hurts the human heart shows up all through his earthly walk: with the brokenhearted Magdalene crying at his feet, the adulterous woman fearing for her life, the Samaritan woman with her history of failed relationships, the widow on her way to bury her dead son and [raised the boy from the dead], the women weeping along the road to Calvary. It shows up in the many passages that describes Christ as “having compassion”… a deep gut reaction. His heart was torn for us. His gut wrenched, the most vulnerable part of His being laid bare. It is on that Friday that he not only suffered he was moved to compassion… Someone writes, “On the cross he journeyed to the far reaches of loneliness, so that he could be lonely with those who are lonely and rob loneliness of its killing power by sharing it Himself.” Jesus resonated with the depth of human sorrow and hurt. He became lost with the lost, hungry with the hungry, and thirsty with the thirsty… Thus it is really a Good Friday [for me]. He knows what hurts us… Being a real gentleman he doesn’t say, “I told you so”, or say, “You ate that hamburger during Lent on March 27, 2017.” He forgives because He understands.
Good Friday is good… and Sunday is coming! [/restrict]