On Good Friday, we celebrate Love at its finest.
Lord Jesus, the Christ, embraced death for Love alone.
Last night as we slowly inched home on roads caked with ice, the kids were singing along to the radio when my daughter lunged to turn the dial when the next song came over the airwaves.
Simply put, the kids were outraged by this song.
“It’s about murder”, my young daughter explained.
“No, it’s about suicide. At church. Because of church.” my other daughter said.
My son stayed silent.
Later, I googled the lyrics. “Take me to church”, Hozier defies, “I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies. I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife”
Nothing could be further from the truth of the Cross.
No wonder my kids were troubled.
Consider the truth of the Cross today:
Our King, royal, majestic and true, Jesus Christ, sinless, perfect, all love, God eternal Man forever, suffered a brutal agonizing death for our freedom.
This Man, Jesus Christ, King of all, died intentionally, fiercely and courageously for every one of us. Peter, one of Jesus’s closest friend, referenced his firsthand witness of the cross and resurrection of Christ as an eternal gift planned by a Heavenly Father:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you( 1 Peter 1:3,4)
It’s hard to receive a gift that cost so much.
Bigger than a Mercedes with heated seats.
Greater than the rock on the finger or the house with an ensuite.
The gift of the cross is intimate, a man’s life poured out in agony, paying with death to keep us eternally alive, for the straight forward new spring joy of calling God, “Daddy” and Christ, “Friend” and Holy Spirit, “Our Counsel”.
In the Old Testament, no other book is more intimate than Song of Solomon, as it sweeps the reader up into a whirlwind of conjugal experience that becomes uncomfortable in its clarity. I feel awkward as the Lover describes His beloved from feet to head, one beautiful anatomy statement at a time. Perhaps you too feel like an interloper reading this book, peeking into the King’s bedroom, as love between the two is celebrated and articulated in detail. As I read these chapters, I feel like a small child who mistakenly opened the door on a person half-clad or who caught my parents in warm embrace.
More than just a celebration of Solomon and his love for the Shulammite, Song of Songs is an intimate letter of intent from God Himself, declaring His desire to know us, every detail. As the King celebrated the passion of his romance, so Christ is eagerly desiring to know us, and He won’t quit His pursuit.
This call to intimacy makes me squirm and then, desperately hope for more. My cry to know His kisses, to know His heart began when Love Came Down to me. With that first reach for Christ, my thirst remains unabated, for in discovery of Our King, my passion only deepens. I am just the receiver. His pursuit of me, of you, cost Him everything:
He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.(1 Peter 1:20-21 HCSB)
Our Christ chose to be our lover and our friend (Songs of Songs 5:16) long before the earth was made. His pursuit for each one of us brought Him into direct confrontation with every principality, thrust this sinless Man into a vortex of oppression and violence. He suffered beating, whipping, scourging, mockery, mass injustice and then death on a wooden cross when He had all the right and all the power of the universe to say no.
May His Yes to each of us be celebrated today.
May His Yes, His intentional pursuit of our hearts move us to wonder and awe this day.
May His love stretched wide between nails on a cross cause us each to find our incredible value, as we grasp the depth of His marvelous intent to love us as His own today.
May all our resolve to just serve, to remain detached, to stay distant from God melt before our Christ’s valiant vulnerable stand for all humanity.
Behold your King, a lone Man, hanging between heaven and earth, the Only One who could pay the price for our selfish sin, who lived His Yes to His last breath, who cried, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” as He purchased with His blood the gift of His embrace.
Let’s Pray: O God, thank You, that Love Came Down. Thank You for the Cross, King Jesus. Holy Spirit, lead us into deeper understanding of this incredible love God has for us all. Amen
Next Week Reading: Isaiah 1-10
No study questions today. Cherish this Easter as we celebrate our King.