I love watching the sunrise. There is something magnetically attractive and soul-stirring about a sunrise.
Maybe it’s the golden hue of a sunrise that warms our heart. Perhaps it’s the promise of a new day filled with the possibility of sharing love, pursuing dreams or accomplishing goals.
Good Friday is a dawn unlike and unmatched by any other. Jesus awakes not to a day filled with human possibilities but drenched with human depravity.
The lyrics of one of my favourite hymns, The Power of the Cross, aptly capture this: “Oh to see the dawn, Christ on the road to Calvary. Tried by sinful men. Torn and beaten, then. Nailed to a cross of wood.”
What nailed Jesus to the Cross?
Our pride in wanting our autonomy from God at all cost. Our sin in being king of our own lives, from moment to moment.
Pride is hard to acknowledge. Sin is even harder to confess. They are both expressions of our destructive “selfism”.
The full spectrum of our dark selfism was on ample display in each party involved in Jesus’ last moments culminating in the Cross.
The chief priests’ self-righteousness, Pilate’s self-preservation, the disciples’ self-importance and Peter’s self-sufficiency are all different expressions of our human pride.
The frightening thing is that each party to the death of Jesus got to keep their puny and passing kingdoms while Jesus’ kingdom seem to collapse comprehensively at the Cross.
There’s a very poignant lesson in there for us. The next time we are tempted to be “our own king” and “do our own thing” – melt down on a child maliciously, bully an aged parent subtly, stray from our spouses flirtatiously or porn away our time endlessly – it’s time to practise the “royal pause”.
The “royal pause” simply asks the sobering question: “Who is Lord of this moment of deconstructive anger, abuse, unfaithfulness or pleasure? Who is Lord of my life?”
And, if we are honest, it will dawn upon us that no one can save us from our addiction to devious selfishness apart from Jesus’ saving love in the Cross he bore for us.
And so the stirring chorus goes: “Christ became sin for us. Took the blame. Bore the wrath. We stand forgiven at the Cross.”
Only by seeing “Christ on the road to Calvary” and humbly believing in Him, can we be the undeserving recipients of Good Friday and the beatific dawn of a new beginning with God – free from Satan, sin and death! Amen.