READ : Matthew 27:45-54
Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. (v. 50)
At a Good Friday communion service many years ago the preacher handed me the cup and whispered, “Christ’s blood shed for you.” Somehow the words jolted me as though I’d grabbed hold of a live electric wire. Christ’s blood shed for me? I always knew that Jesus died for bad people, but somehow, amazingly, I hadn’t come to the realization that he died for me.
It is not enough, on Good Friday, to remember that Jesus died. You need to reckon with the fact that he died for you. You can almost feel Paul’s astonishment when he says, “The Son of God . . . gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). For me. For you.
Some critics worried that Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ would generate anti-Semitic feelings because the movie made it seem that the Jews killed Jesus. The truth is that I killed Jesus. My sin – and yours – nailed him to the cross. If we ignore our own role in the passion and death of Christ, if we think that Jesus suffered and died only for “bad people,” then we miss the meaning of the crucifixion. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” says Peter, “that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).
“O Sacred Head, now wounded . . . I joy to call Thee mine.”