Just four months ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether it is the right day of the year or how it is misused, Christmas is a time of celebration and joy.
Good Friday is different. Those who know Easter is coming recognize the darkness of today will turn to eternal light on Sunday. Grief will turn to wonder. Jesus’ victory overshadows Satan’s temporary victory. We tend to treat Good Friday as a hiccup. It appears and then it’s gone, a blip on the radar.
Maybe it’s because Good Friday reminds us how broken our world is. Sure, we see the news and pray for nations and people hit by tragedy. Brokenness seems obvious. Yet today’s message of brokenness is about sin, judgment, and justice. But the good news of the Gospel is how God sent Jesus to redeem our brokenness and make us whole and new again.
As I read the account of Jesus’ death in my daily readings in the book of Mark, I stumbled upon an interesting truth. When the world was broken, and mankind was broken, God’s desire was to do the impossible and make it all whole again. And He did it on a day when even more stuff was broken.
Instead of “Good” Friday, we could call today “Broken” Friday. Here are 10 Broken Pieces of Good Friday, used by God to make us whole again.
- Judas ~ Broken Friendship. To say Judas’ betrayal broke Jesus’ trust is only a portion of the brokenness of their relationship that day. Judas betrayed the solemn commitment to follow his Master and Teacher. He traded in every promise to the Twelve for thirty pieces of silver and the hopes of accomplishing a goal we can’t even name. And he did it all with a greeting of friendship.
- The Eleven ~ Broken Fellowship. In church circles, fellowship has come to mean eating or talking or playing together. But a true fellowship is a commitment to one another. It involves unity of passion of purpose. It is a unique bond, different and sometimes far deeper than that of friendship. When Jesus was arrested, we are told the Disciples scattered. Their fellowship, with each other and with Jesus, was broken by confusion, anger, and fear.
- The Sanhedrin ~ Broken Leadership. If anyone should have led the shouts of praise on Palm Sunday, it was the Sanhedrin. They were trained and studied in the Law and Prophets. Those who should have recognized Jesus first, though, were the first to reject Him. They didn’t want to know if He was the Messiah so they could follow Him, but to give them justification for killing Him. The spiritual leadership of the nation failed to lead the nation to the Son of God.
- Peter ~ Broken Faith. Just hours before he sneaked into the meeting of the Sanhedrin, Peter had promised to follow Jesus anywhere, even to death. Sure, he was near to Jesus than most of his companions, but Peter was slinking in the shadows, trying to remain unnoticed. In the courtyard of the high priest’s house, Peter was recognized as a follower of Jesus. Did he confess his faith or acknowledge Jesus as his Master? No. Peter broke faith and denied Jesus.
- Pilate ~ Broken Justice. Unable to condemn anyone to death, the priests took Jesus to the one man who could: Pilate, the Roman governor. When Pilate couldn’t find anything to convict or condemn Jesus for, he should have released Him. Instead he gave in to pressures of the crowd. He chose to save face, and sent the Savior to the cross.
- The Roman Soldiers ~ Broken Protection. Soldiers are supposed to keep order, protect the weak, and fight for freedom and justice. They should be willing to lay down their lives for the King. Yet when the King stood before them, they mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him. They were without mercy or kindness, and acted without honor.
- Simon of Cyrene ~ Broken Worship. Here was a man who brought his two sons with him to Jerusalem. They came to celebrate the Passover. It was supposed a week of sacrifice, worship, celebration, and tradition. Who could have guessed their trip would be broken by the shout and pull of soldiers, throwing him into the street? Torn from his sons, Simon was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. How many ways did his life break and change that day?
- The Earth ~ Broken Planet. When Jesus was born, Creation responded with a new star in the evening sky. As He hung on the cross the sky went dark at the brightest time of the day. When Jesus died, “The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.” It seems unrelated, but it was a testimony to the One dying on the cross, as one of the soldiers looked and recognized Him as the Son of God.
- The Veil ~ Broken Boundary. Inside the Temple, the holiest place in Jerusalem, the veil hung between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the world. It’s purpose was not decoration, but separation. God’s holy presence on one side, mankind on the other. The tear is unique, from top to bottom, and the implication is clear. It has served as a sermon topic probably since Good Friday services began. God tore the boundary, removing the earthly separation between the Creator and those He created to love.
- Jesus ~ Broken Savior. Last, but most important of all, Jesus was broken that day. He was spit upon, had patches of His beard torn out, was terribly beaten, and a crown of thorns was pressed into His head. Then He had to get as far as possible with His cross down the road to Golgotha, the place of the skull. Who knows how many times He fell before they drafted Simon to help him?
They laid Him on a cross of wood, strapped and nailed down His hands and His feet. For six hours He hung there, struggling to breathe. Blood ran down His face, arms, body, and legs, down the cross to the ground of broken Creation. Until, around 3 o’clock, Jesus died.
Who knew so many broken pieces could result in wholeness? From relationships, to leadership, to Creation itself, each broken piece fits together to complete the picture of love and redemption.
For a race broken by sin. For the Creation tarnished by the Fall. For those God loves (not just “loved”) more than anything or anyone else. In the death of Jesus Christ we find the power of rebirth, perfection, and abundant living. We who are broken are made whole in Him.