Good Friday

Several years ago I purchased a devotional Bible edited by Max Lucado.  One story of his has stayed in my memory for years and I try to re-read it every Easter.  Here's the abbreviated version of Max's story.

Lord?  Yes (God replies).  I may be stepping out of line by saying this, but I need to tell you something that's been on my mind. I don't like this verse, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"*  It doesn't sound like you; it doesn't sound like something you would say.  I usually love it when You speak.  I imagine the power of Your voice, the thunder of Your commands.  Look at this sentence.  There is a "why" at the beginning and a question mark at the end.  You don't ask questions.

And as long as I'm shooting straight with You- I don't like to see the word abandoned .  The source of life, abandoned? The giver of love, alone? The father of it all, isolated?  Could we change the sentence a bit?  How about challenge?  "My God, my God why did you challenge me?" Now we can applaud.  It makes sense now.  You see, it makes you a hero.  History is full of heroes.  And who is a hero, but someone who survives a challenge.

Or, if that is not acceptable, why not afflicted?  Yes, that's it.  Now you are a martyr, taking a stand for truth.  A noble soldier who took the sword all the way to the hilt; bloody, beaten, but victorious.  Afflicted is so much better than abandoned.  You are God, Jesus!  You couldn't be left alone.  You couldn't be deserted in your most painful moment.  Abandonment; that's a punishment for a criminal.  Abandonment is for the vile, not You.  You are the King of Kings, the Lamb of God...."who has come to take away the sins of the world." **

 Wait a minute.  I didn't think about those words..."to take away the sins".  I have read them, but never thought about them.  I thought you just sent sin away, banished it.  I thought you just stood in front of it and told it to be gone.  It never occurred to me that you actually touched sin, or worse still that it touched You.  It must have been a horrible moment.  I know what it is like to be touched by sin.  But, why am I telling You, You remember.  You were the one who saw me and found me.  I was lonely and afraid.  Remember, I asked, "Why, why me? Why has all this hurt happened to me?"  I know it wasn't much of a question, or the right question, but it was all I knew to ask.  You see, God, I felt confused and desolate.  Sin left me shipwrecked, orphaned, adrift.  Sin left me aban-

Oh! Oh, my.  God, is that what happened to You?  Taking on our sins left you abandoned?  Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know.  You really were alone, weren't you?  Your question was really, wasn't it Jesus?  You really were afraid.  You really were alone.  Just like I was.  Only, I deserved it, You didn't.  Forgive me, I spoke out of turn.  {from And the Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado.}

* Psalm 22, verse 1

**John 1, verse 29

Take time this Good Friday to reflect on, then give thanks for the great gift of grace Jesus gave us!