Good Friday: What a Difference…

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Text: John 19:1-42

What a difference a few days can make…

It had only been a few days since Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem triumphantly. Now though he was arrested, betrayed only the night before by one of his twelve. Humiliated, mocked, and scorned, rushed through trial, he was beaten and bloodied, forced to endure pain and suffering at the hand of the Roman authorities. In fear his disciples had scattered. Even Peter, who had declared he would never abandon his Lord, had, as Christ had told him, denied him.

In a very real sense it had to seem like all had been lost, at least to those who had left everything to follow him. They had to wonder what would come next. They had to wonder what they would do next.

Though Christ had told them what was going to happen, the truth was that the disciples didn’t understand. Then it couldn’t have been that surprising. They often missed what Christ was trying to tell them. They heard the words but the meaning was lost on them as they struggled to comprehend. Had they just taken the time to figure it out, to listen to his warnings, to understand what it was that he was telling them, they might have saved themselves a lot of grief and fear and anxiety.

But they didn’t and all they could do now was hide, unsure of what would happen to them.

It’s easy to fault the disciples for their fear and their lack of understanding when Christ had laid it out for them. Yet we’re not that entirely different from them. We look to the words of our Savior for wisdom, we look to God for understanding, and it is laid out for us, but we so often miss the point of what is being told to us. In the end we find ourselves gripped by fear and uncertainty, anxiety and worry for the future because we can’t be bothered to listen.

You see, God, in His profound love for us, doesn’t withhold the knowledge that we need. As we are reminded in the Epistle of James, when we come to God in faith, with a humble heart and a contrite spirit, seeking knowledge, seeking wisdom and truth, He gives it to us freely in love. Putting aside the lessons of this world of what is and isn’t and setting aside our preconceived notions of what can be done and what can’t be, we need only listen, truly listen with an open heart and a willing spirit.

Yes, this can perhaps be hard for us. Contradicting what we think we know, God works in ways that aren’t always easy for us to grasp the magnitude of. Using human reasoning we can’t follow the train of events that He sets in motion for us. Still, though He may work in mysterious ways, He does set out a path that He makes known to us. When it comes down to it we just need to be willing to put it in His hands, realizing that even as the world changes all around us He is unchanging, perfect in His understanding, divine in His reasoning, and seamless in His plans.

So yes, we can say what a difference a few days can make even as everything we thought we knew comes crumbling down around us. Yet, more accurately, what we should say is what a difference God can make as He withholds nothing, not even His own Son, to set into motion the holy and the divine, moving through the course of human events and human reasoning to work His will for your greater good in the love He has for you.

Now may the peace of the Lord that transcends all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting. Amen.

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