GOOD FRIDAY – Helpless?
1 Tim 2:5,6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.
The awfulness of Good Friday, the anguish of the dying Christ, and the guilt we feel from having been a part of the human race that did this to the glorious son of God, perhaps covers up the incredible nature of just what was happening on that day inside and outside Jerusalem.
An unknowing time-travelling reporter, observing these events on this day, with no other knowledge than what they see, might suppose that here was a man caught up by the circumstances of the day and rendered utterly helpless. He is arrested by an armed guard and from then on he is utterly helpless to change his circumstances. He might have pleaded ‘not guilty’ before that unjust court but they were determined that he would die. Indeed Pilate decreed him innocent but that didn’t stop his death. He is beaten and thrashed and then the mutilated body taken out and crucified and there left to die – and die he does! He appears utterly helpless!
But the truth is somewhat different. At the arrest, as Peter goes to take his sword to defend his master, Jesus steps in and stops him: “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt 26:52,53)
This is the same Son of God who, early in his ministry, when they tried to throw him off a cliff, simply slipped away out of their hands (Lk 4:28-30). This is the same Son of God who knew all men and who knew what they were thinking (e.g. Lk 5:22, 6:8) and knew exactly what was to come. No, the appearance is of absolute helplessness but the reality is that he was in total control. As Isaiah had prophesied, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isa 53:7) Voluntary helplessness in order to take our sin, guilt & shame! Hallelujah!