If you read the Scriptures closely, you’ll begin to see that the life of Jesus is a summation of the message of the Old Testament. Many of the events, actions, experiences, and words spoken by Jesus mimic or coincide with God’s redemptive message to the world. Isn’t God cool?
The same is true with Jesus’ sacrifice this Good Friday. One important “scene” is the correlation between Jesus and Isaac, son of Abraham. Abraham, a father, was asked to give up his only son, “whom you love,” (Genesis 22.2) and offer him as a sacrifice. God, a father, like Abraham, gave up his only son, “the Beloved,” (Matthew 17.5). Isaac was made to carry the wood of the sacrifice on his back up the mountain, just as Christ was to carry the wood of his sacrifice on his back up the hill. God provided a ram to substitute for Isaac’s life and God provided resurrection for Jesus (and us) to substitute for lasting death. Just as the ram’s head was trapped and caught in the thicket, so was Christ’s head trapped and caught in the bramble of his thorny crown.
Just this brief example alone is meant to encourage us to see Jesus’ sacrifice as more than just something he bore alone. We are instructed to take up our cross, too, and follow after Christ. As he walks the streets this morning, headed toward the place of suffering, go with him. Place yourself in the role of Simon of Cyrene, getting up underneath the burden of Jesus, helping him carry the cross of his passion. Place yourself at the foot of his cross, ready to care for his mother as he places her and all other widows in your care, to look after those who have lost their husbands and wives, their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters. As he cries “It is finished,” know now that his job is done and now it is your job to continue on the work that God has laid out for you through resurrection and Holy Spirit power.
All of this was for you, remember that, and have gratitude in your heart, “for you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1Corinthians 6.20). Bless you this truly GOOD Friday.