This is Friday of Holy Week. The reading is Matthew 27:33-56, Jesus Crucified. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)
Note that today’s post also begins heart prep for Sunday!
Wright looks at the cross as the culmination of history and says that all of Israel’s story, and each of our stories, and the whole fallen creation’s story come together at the cross: “You could tell the story a thousand different ways, and they’d all be true. Jesus’ followers quickly came to tell it in such a way as to bring out what Jesus himself had been trying to say all along, and what Matthew has been trying to tell us through- out his gospel: this is the event through which Jesus became king. King of the Jews. King of the world.”
“And as you stand at the foot of the cross, you have a nightmarish sequence of flashbacks, of déjà vu moments, watching Israel’s hopes and dreams come to life, or rather to death, in front of your eyes. Bits and pieces of the Psalms, acted out right there. Jesus is offered sour wine to drink. They cast lots for his clothes. They hail him as ‘king of the Jews’. They mock him with his own words. And, after three hours of darkness, Jesus screams out the words that begin the Psalm (22) where some of those things happen: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The fulfillment has come, and it is a moment of utter terror and hopelessness. It is as though the sun were to rise one day and it would be a black sun, bringing a darkness deeper than the night itself.”
“But then bring the hopes and sorrows of the world. Bring the millions who are homeless because of flood or famine. Bring the children orphaned by AIDS or war. Bring the politicians who begin by longing for justice and end up hoping for bribes. Bring the beautiful and fragile earth on which we live. Think of God’s dreams for his creation, and God’s sorrow at its ruin.
As we stand there by the cross, let the shouting and pushing and the angry faces fade away for a moment, and look at the slumped head of Jesus. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in him, here on the cross. God chose Israel to be his way of rescuing the world. God sent Jesus to be his way of rescuing Israel. Jesus went to the cross to fulfill that double mission. His cross, planted in the middle of the jostling, uncomprehending, mocking world of his day and ours, stands as the symbol of a victory unlike any other. A love unlike any other. A God unlike any other.”
I don’t think we’re going to do it Sunday, but I keep huming Matt Maher’s No Greater Love
Here are some of the songs we’ll be doing at the Sunrise Service:
All Things New by Andrew Peterson