Friday, March 30, 2018

A Waste of Flesh

Now, in our Holy Week, we have come to Good Friday. By the time that you are reading this post, there will already have been a sacrifice, already blood dripping down from the Cross, already fatigue setting in on His body. For He was slaughtered with the morning sacrifice, the echo of the horn from the Temple heard all the way on the hill; not a faithful Jew in all of Israel would have failed to hear it. 

And we who have the benefit of hindsight, who know how the story ends, who are not stuck on Friday but know full well that Sunday is coming, call this Friday "Good," although at the time, it would have been no such thing. 

Remember that it was less than one week ago that Jesus triumphally entered the city of Jerusalem. Finally. After all of the waiting, after all of the prodding, after all of the begging for Him to come to the central city of leadership in Israel. The faithful had lined the streets with palm branches, singing and shouting and dancing for the long-awaited coming of their promised King. In the days that had followed, He had done not one particularly kingly thing, but they were still hopeful, still expectant. 

Not any longer. Not this morning. This morning, as their long-awaited King hangs on a Cross just outside the streets where palm leaves have already begun drying and decaying, there is no hope in Israel. No expectation. This is not their King. How could He be? He's dying.

Remember that it was just a couple of days ago that a woman, a prostitute, had put it all on the line to walk uninvited into a leper's house and anoint this Man, this Rabbi, this Teacher, who was supposed to become their priest. He had commended her for her act of faithfulness and obedience. He had changed, to some degree, her reputation, and everyone had seen it. He still smelled a little like nard, even this morning. 

But this morning...this morning, none of that matters. This man who had spoken so kindly to her is nothing more than a criminal. This Rabbi who received her tremendous gift is going to waste. It was, it turns out, no anointing at all; it was an embalming. He who was supposed to bring life has walked the road to His own death, and it was all for nothing. He has just a few hours left.

Remember that it was just one day ago that He was in the Upper Room, celebrating the Passover with His disciples, talking about the wondrous things that God had done. Remembering the mighty act of God in sparing the firstborn children of Israel so that He could lead them out of captivity and into new life. He spoke like a prophet, the bold truth of God rolling off His tongue so eloquently, so assuredly. 

And for what? For nothing. Because this so-called prophet who speaks such beautiful truth has been condemned by liars and now? Now, He barely has breath to speak. It won't be long until He has no breath left in Him at all. 

On this Friday, this Promise - this long-awaited King, this priest, this prophet - hangs dying, along with all the hope and expectation and anticipation of Israel. For years they have believed that this truly was the Son of God, the presence of Him in the flesh. 

But what a waste of flesh. 

On this Friday, it's almost over. No, hold that - it's done. His limp, lifeless body hangs shameful on the Cross, just breaths removed from all of the hope that things were finally, finally about to be different. "Good" Friday? "GOOD" Friday? There is nothing "good" about this Friday....

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