The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1: 28 (NIV)
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)
In our church’s Easter pageant, the part of Jesus is played by a young man named Danny. Danny has a tender heart, but in a rough tough cowboy exterior. If you can imagine that man in the old Western movies who rides the horses, brands the calves, and chases the Indians, but in the presence of the school marm, ducks his head, slaps his dusty hat on his side and says, “Yes, maam.” That’s Danny. Danny works in landscaping and is a hard worker. In our Sunday School class auction, two hours of Danny’s labor will go for several hundred dollars. He is strong and capable. What most know who hire him is that for every hour you pay him, he’ll work another hour just to make sure the job is done right. Danny’s mannerisms and action make me think of Jesus and when he dons his Biblical costume, he even looks like Jesus. There is a scene where he interacts with some small children and as he lifts a little boy up in the air and then, down on his knee, the Biblical message of “Let the little children come to me” is real. At one point in the story, a father brings his dead daughter to Jesus. As one of the actors carries in his seven year old daughter lying limp in his arms, the agony on his face is real. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to even pretend that she is dead. Yet, Danny in the character of Jesus takes her, breathes upon her, and she comes back to life smiling and hugging her father once more. There is one scene, I cannot watch. It is when Jesus is nailed to the cross. The presentation is very descriptive as the Roman soldiers first beat Jesus (or thankfully, pantomime beating Jesus) and then, carry him to the cross. Then, the lights black out and the only sound is the echo of a hammer. When the lights come back on, Danny, dressed only in a cloth wrapped around his waist appears to hang upon the cross while the choir sings, “Alas and did my Savior Bleed.” Today is Good Friday. In many Christian religions it is a somber day of sorrow. A day to grieve over Christ’s death. Some might think that an odd title for the day that Jesus died and suffered. But, if you know the ending to the story, today is Good Friday. It is the day that in His great love for us, Christ died on the cross in our place. Today, is the day that Christ became our redeemer, the sacrificial lamb whose blood covers our sins and makes us acceptable to God. God loves us, but there is a barrier between His holiness and our humanity. There is no degree of sin. We are all sinners unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. Still God’s Son, Jesus, died to take away our sins. Happy Good Friday to us all!
Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.
But drops of tears can ne’er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
’tis all that I can do.