by Aaron Warner
So little of what we see in the news these days can be called good. In fact, one has to look pretty hard to find it. Few would argue the chaos in Vermont (exploding violent attacks, joblessness, high cost of living, reckless politicians, etc.) is reflective of the larger global chaos. The evidence and outcomes of two world wars you think would have been enough to avoid a third, yet here we are staring it in its big, ugly, insatiable maw.
Who couldn’t go for a little good news right now?
Today marks the annual holiday recognized as Good Friday among the faithful. It’s a holiday that harkens us back to a day similarly dark and brutal full of suffering, where mankind proved beyond a shadow of a doubt we were, as we are today, morally bankrupt and depraved, collectively conspiring to kill the greatest servant and most peaceful human being to ever walk the earth – God the Son – Jesus Christ.
If you haven’t seen the Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson’s award winning movie about the time leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, today would be a good day to watch it. Despite Christian movies being notoriously poor quality, full of clichés and the kind of contrived or dispassionate acting one expects from low budget filmmaking, this movie impressed even anti-Christ Hollywood.
Gibson, despite his publicly flawed life, shares the passion of the Christ, both in name and deed, by pouring himself entirely into reenacting the capture, mock trial and capital punishment of Jesus. By all accounts the movie is a masterpiece, and perhaps the only movie about Jesus that rises to the level of being worthy of calling itself Biblical.
Not one for spoiler alerts, if you don’t already know the story then you’ve somehow managed to live this long without hearing the greatest story ever told from the most popular book of all-time. You might want to catch up. However, even if you do know the story, the artistic rendering in Gibson’s film will leave you profoundly moved at what Jesus was willing to suffer on your behalf. If you’re not stirred in your soul to admire what Jesus went through at the hands of evil men to save you from an eternity of suffering and replace it with an eternity of peace and joy among loved ones, knowing that He neither deserved nor had to do it, then you are as spiritually dead as He says you are.
What makes this fake religious, conspiratorial, bloody, painful, and evil act of mankind so good is the One who suffered through it so we wouldn’t.
When asked by a young rich ruler “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with a keen rhetorical question:
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)
The young wealthy man, just like most of his Jewish contemporaries, could not see Jesus was not just their long awaited Messiah, but God in the flesh. Jesus was offering yet another clue, but spiritual blindness makes it difficult to see.
In fact, none of us can see the truth of God until He opens our eyes. Gibson’s film is intended to help us get there.
So what makes this Friday so particularly good if it recalls yet another of man’s brutal deeds against even God Himself?
It’s the moment in time we are allowed to see the deep, deep goodness and love of God the Son, Jesus the Christ, alluded to here:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
The God of the Universe sees our spiritual bankruptcy. He knows our need of saving, and He knows we are powerless to save ourselves. He also knew that we would conspire and plot to kill even His precious and most innocent only Son, yet somehow uses our own evil act to extend forgiveness and save us from ourselves.
That’s what makes Him the only one who can truly be called good, and that’s what we are called to remember this day each year.
Happy Good Friday Vermont.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The author is a fitness expert living in Hartford.