Good Friday: Do the Math

6. April '12

 

I think the church fathers must not have been very good at addition. Jesus said he would be in the grave for three days and then he would rise again. And yet Good Friday, when we celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross, until Easter Sunday, when we celebrate his resurrection,  is only two days. Go figure. 

 

It’s a rainy, dreary day here in North Georgia as I type this and think about the pain Jesus went through on the cross and the days leading up to it so that I could have a new life free from the guilt of my sin. I think about the sufferings I face and the unfairness of life sometimes and find myself eagerly looking forward to my own resurrection. Hope has taken on a new meaning as a result of the minimal sufferings I face in life... sufferings that pale in comparison to what Jesus went through.

 

Paul said in Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” But didn’t Jesus complete His work on the cross? Didn’t He say, “it is finished”? Was there something still lacking in His sufferings then? Because Jesus not only died on the cross for our sins, but also rose from the dead on the third day, He now lives in those of us who have received this free gift of forgiveness and is very much alive in us. So then, when we suffer, He suffers with us because He is in us. The work of redemption was completed at the cross, but the whole creation still groans in frustration. Romans 8:19: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” When we groan, He groans. When we suffer, He continues to suffer. And so His suffering on the cross was not finished. He’s still suffering with us. And we wait with great hope for Sunday morning, for the resurrection, for the fulfillment of what we were created for. For us that waiting and hoping has lasted longer than two days... longer than three days. We’re still groaning and waiting. And the word “hope” takes on new meaning with each day. How privileged I am to groan and wait and hope.