Isaiah 52: 13 – 53:12;
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
It is Good Friday. Do you know why it is called Good Friday? We call it Good Friday because it
is God’s Friday. It’s Good Friday, the very day for which Jesus was born into the world. His
whole life, everything he ever said or did, had been leading up to this day. Every miracle, every
sermon, every word of forgiveness or challenge none of them makes sense apart from the cross.
And today, we are invited to join millions of people all over the word in gazing upon the Lamb
who was slain for our sin.
Good Friday is the day when Jesus reminds us that he is constantly, gently laying his hands on
our heads when we are physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually in pain, and
saying, “I know you are hurting, I know you are puzzled. I know that you tend to panic.
Courage! You are not alone! Do not give up. You will grow through this Come now let us keep
going. I am with you and I will not leave you orphaned.” Thank you Jesus for your constant
care and presence!
We notice today the three crosses that were represented at the crucifixion of Christ.
First, we notice the Cross of Rejection. This is the story of the bad thief. He was ridiculing
Jesus. He is not interested in admitting that he is in the wrong. He is just mad that he has gotten
caught. He is not sorry that he has sinned against God.
“The British historian H.G. Wells said Jesus was the world’s greatest teacher. But Wells didn’t
believe Jesus was Son of God. The British theologian C.S Lewis thinks Well’s position is
inconsistent. Lewis says we would never call a human being who claimed equality with God a
great teacher. Rather, we might call him a fool; but we would never call him a great teacher.
When it comes to Jesus, Lewis says, we cannot have our cake and eat it too.
Second, we notice The Cross of Reception. The second thief feared God. He knew that God
controlled his destiny. He knew that God was the judge of things. He realized that he was a
condemned man with no earthly way out. He acknowledges his sin. Acknowledgement of one’s
sin is the first step of getting saved. This thief acknowledged that Jesus did not deserve the death
Finally, we notice the third cross, The Cross of Redemption. To ‘redeem’ means to “buy back”.
Jesus buys us back from the slave market of sin.
When we face the crib and the cross we find ourselves at the crossroads: either we accept God
and the Mystery of His love, and drop to our knees in adoration, or we deny Him.
Which side of the cross of redemption are you on? Are you on the side of the rejection or
reception? Rejection of the cross will keep us out of paradise. Reception of the cross will make
us enter into paradise.
Yes, Jesus died for us on the cross. Before, the cross was held in contempt, but today, it is the
hope of salvation. It has truly been converted into a fount of infinite goods; it has liberated us
from error, it has scattered our darkness, it has reconciled us with God. The Cross is respected
today as the ‘Tree of Life; it is the Sign of True Love; it is the Source of Joy; it is indeed the
Throne of Servants and disciples of Jesus; and it is evergreen and never will it dry out. Once we
were enemies of God, today thanks to the Cross we have been made his friends and family; Once
we were pagans, heathens and foreigners, today the Cross has converted us to be his neighbors:
This cross is the destruction of enmity, the fount of peace, the coffer of our treasure.
Today we are not celebrating the history, rather the mystery of the Cross. We ponder over and
dramatically and symbolically and sacramentally express and experience what has happened
behind and beyond the Cross. One thing we are sure, in this mystery there are three other
mysteries hidden: First, it is the mystery of Jesus: He was both human and divine. We are
perplexed to see him become no-man, voiceless lamb to be taken to slaughter house and indeed
he was butchered and crucified and died. How can the divine Son die that way? That is a
mystery. Secondly, it is the mystery o God’s freedom: God had made a covenant with humanity.
Covenant means a testament, a will.
On a personal note, I want to share with you what I feel as many of you do: When I begin to
appreciate this mysterious cross of Christ, what happens is I begin to feel one with my Saviour
Jesus Who is hanging there on this cross. I see myself being crucified like anyone els. Though I
cannot compare my cross with Jesus’ own, still I can say I am always crucified and hanging there
on the cross in the middle of two other groups of criminals, one on the right and the other on the
left. There are two groups hanging there on their own crosses.
Like me, they are also thieves, criminals, sinners, thirsting, bleeding, and gasping for breath, with
excruciating pain. But they differ from each other as those two thieves hung by the side of the
Lord. On the right, I see the group of people, though they are hanging there for their sins and
crimes, but shedding tears, making amendments for their sins and being crucified to their good
values, God, Church, goodness sincerity, faith, hope and charity, lots of dreams about eternal life
and plenty of efforts for living a quality life. However, on this left side of me, I notice another
group of people, truly hanging there for their sinfulness but crucified to their hardheartedness,
hatred and vengeance, despair, frustration, disappointment, depression, doubts, irreligiosity and
so on. They are with unfulfilled dreams for which they write so much against God and religion,
and there are others who find new philosophies of life due to their inability to know God, many
others crucified to their hunting for prosperity, popularity and power and success.
I am hanging there in their middle being torn between two groups of thieves. I too like them,
hold certain religious convictions, more unfulfilled dreams, and greater despair, depression and
darkness. What should I do? My Lord Jesus says as he is hanging on the cross, ‘Say with me:
My Lord My Lord why have you forsaken me;” “Into your hands I commend my spirit;” and “I
thirst.” I will not say “It’s finished.” This is because there is some more time left for me to say
that. In the meantime, I will support the needy people even while I am crucified. I will help the
lonely, deprived, offer consoling words, encourage others and above all, forgive those who hurt
you, even pray for those who are hanging there with you both on the right and on the left in a
Jesus, My Lord and My God, Have Mercy on me a sinner. Amen