Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

I think I've always had two versions of Jesus in my mind.

First, there is Jesus: the sweet, life-giving, grace-pushing carpenter who was always telling the losers he loved them. I've always liked him. We're close. I tell him things. And he makes me feel safe.

And then there is JESUS: the silent, somber B.A. who was always pissing off Pharisees--the one who walked the road to Calvary. Now, this guy, I respect. But I'm not sure if He likes me that much, and he's always freaked me out a little.

It's always been easiest to have this separation, because what Jesus did on the Cross completely baffles me. I don't understand it. It makes me sad. And it makes me feel a little guilty.Yes. It has been easier for me, for 25 years, to keep the Jesus in the crowds, the one who called me on the beach, saved me from being stoned, broke bread with's easier to keep that Jesus separate from the one who died for me.

But tonight I attended a Good Friday service that felt a lot more like a funeral--and I've been to my share of funerals of the past few years. The resemblance was purposeful, but it was also incredibly fitting. Tonight was not a memorial of the distant martyr who hung on the Cross. It was the funeral remembrance for the only man who has ever loved me purely. The one who says he's the shepherd for the lost and the hopeless. The one who prays to his Father in John 17, telling him how much he loves the insignificant morons he's spent the last 33 years getting to know. The one who knows me inside and out--who I share everything with.

Tonight I re-lived the funeral of my best friend.

It was awful.

I don't know what it was. Maybe it's because this year, more than ever before, I've experienced more closely what if feels like to lose someone you love. Or maybe this was the year that I finally truly fell in love with Jesus. I don't know, exactly.

Whatever it was...the life I lived this year has brought me to a place of absolute dependence on the Grace of the Man who died tonight.

The death of Jesus is not some far off, theological concept.

It's personal.

It's heartbreaking.

It is worthy of mourning.'s not the end of the story.

How thankful I become when I arrive, face-to-face with this truth.