Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

From: Gary L. Bauer, Chairman, Campaign for Working Families

Date: Friday, April 6, 2007

Rejoice, All Creation!

The pain of death by crucifixion is beyond our imagination. Nailed to a cross and suffocating, having been scourged with whips, mocked and humiliated, but, worst of all, having been abandoned by nearly all who were dear to you: this is what Jesus experienced as the last hours of His life ebbed away.

In the midst of all this pain, He uttered a simple statement that reverberated over the dusty hills of Judea and reverberates to this day throughout the whole world; “I thirst!” One can pass this off as merely the statement of a dying man, tortured beyond belief, desiring one drop of water to alleviate his pain.

But as Christians we do not believe that anything Christ did was done without the intent of saving our souls. He is God, and it is He Who gives purpose to all creation.

Why did He tell us that He thirsted? What did He thirst for? He thirsted for the love of those for whom He was dying, for our love. The Son of Man felt in His body and in His soul all the pain caused by our sins. But in addition to that, He felt the greater pain of our indifference.

Daily we receive news of human baseness and depravity. News reports remind us of the malice of those who constantly threaten us with terror. We are witness to the mediocrity of those in the halls of government as some shirk their duties to defend the defenseless. And throughout society we see corruption of all kinds.

But over the din of human frailty the voice of God rings clear: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.”

How can we choose the Lord? Is it even possible that our corrupt hearts can truly choose the Perfect Good? As Christians we believe that Jesus’ death destroyed the barriers between man and God. We believe that He died so that we may be brought close enough to Him to choose him. Others, however, follow a god who demands they seek their own death and the deaths of others so that they may receive salvation. What a contrast!

We Christians have been blessed with the Good News of Jesus Christ: that it is possible to choose Life. And that this life is the Lord Himself. This choice is a personal relationship with our Savior. The Bible describes this relationship when it commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” In order to love Him in this way we are given this difficult task: “Love each other as I have loved you.”

Jesus love for us was hopeful and joyful. It was not defeated even by death. He arose. But, even arisen, He thirsts joyfully for the love of true Christians living out the Gospel. He thirsts for the joy that is born of love. He desires that we take joy in His love for us and in His triumph over death.

Believers, be joyful that you are loved by God. That the Life you can choose is full of blessing. That death itself has been defeated and that a new life of grace is available. In your joy you will quench His thirst for love.

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