I was asked by my Pastor to share for the Good Friday Service last week. After sharing and being a part of the service, I was inspired to do two threads on Twitter about the incident and my thoughts. Now I thought it would be wise to share with you on here because it may be something worthy to occupy your thoughts. I included the scripture reference for each Word to give it more context if you want to look it up.
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” –Luke 23:34
Looking at this, one comes to realize that even Jesus was aware that forgiveness is a hard thing to do. Anybody who has been hurt can relate to that fact. Hence, Jesus gave us yet another reason to forgive when we run out of reasons to forgive. Jesus’ statement could also be read as this: forgive them, not because it doesn’t hurt anymore; instead, forgive them because they don’t know exactly how much you hurt or how much pain they are causing you.
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” –Luke 23:29-43
Of all things, who talks about Paradise while in pain? However, seeing Jesus as the example of the perfect version of what we could try to be, this is what I drew from the text: no situation is so bad that a person should ignore a chance to do a good deed. You never know whose life you could save. Jesus chose to ignore the guy who was hitting him while He was down and more importantly, He remembered to lift the other guy who needed salvation.
Another important takeaway, you don’t have to be above someone to help them. Notice how Jesus is on the cross just as the other thieves? One of the thieves chose to taunt Jesus, while the other chose to speak up for Him. He advocated for Jesus while they were both hanging the cross, and Jesus gave him hope for after death. It stands out that two people who are down can lift each other up, even if it is easier to make fun of other people in similar or worse situation as you.
“Mother, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.” –John 19:26-27
To me, this is the closest any social justice enthusiast can relate to Christianity. Here Jesus is speaking to our true humanity. Skip the biology of the Mother and Son part and see this from a male-female perspective: Jesus is saying do not to forget your responsibility to others, even if they aren’t responsible for you. This brings a challenge to some of us who identify as “religious or spiritual.” What does healthy masculinity or femininity mean to you? Despite the chaotic situation in the world today, are you remembering to be that gentleman or lady the world needs? Or are you just name calling, shaming, and explaining how everyone else is a sinner? More important than being heard is listening; more than just listening to respond, we ought to listen to understand other people’s perspective. It may never be right as the way we see it, but it might just be logical.
Bringing the statement closer to home, let’s say it like this: mother/father, care for your son/daughter; son/daughter care for your mother/father/brother/sister. Not everyone may agree on what love is (there are over 1,000 definitions of love), but I am sure everyone can agree as to what caring is. In short, Jesus said ‘let us care for each other regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, social status, or political opinion; we should care because we are humans.’
“My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me?” –Matt. 27:45-50
For me, this Word of the Cross relates the closest to theology. I am not a religious scholar, but most religious scholars would agree that at that point, Jesus was bearing the sin of the WHOLE world. God, the Father, turned his back on Jesus, His Son because God is Holy and cannot be connected with sin. The only thing God detests is a sin. This portrays God’s true nature; for no reason will He compromise His holiness –not even when His dear son is hanging in pain from the cross and dying.
Relating this to real life, there are few questions to ask yourself: What standards can never lower in your life? Is there anything you value more than life itself? What is it that people can say you stand for? Remember, if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. Value yourself, so that others can value you.
“I thirst.” –John 19:28-29
This verse shows Jesus’ truest human nature. The Bible says Jesus was both 100% Man & 100% God (yet He didn’t sin). Personally, this scripture proves that more than anything. It is hard to phantom that despite all the authority and power Jesus had, at any point, he could say I quit and go back to the Heaven he came from, but he cried like any human would.
The message I get from this is that: It is okay to not to be “okay” too. Too many people try to impress others with the idea of a perfect life and all. However, all of our greatest heroes are the people who owned their faults. Keep in mind: having problems make us humans, recognizing our problems make us smart, properly addressing these problems make us wise.
“It is finished.” –John 19:29-30
At first glance, this sounds like Jesus was speaking in despair; but looking at it from the context of Christianity, it is an exclamation of victory. The Hebrew translation says “it is paid/complete.” This amazes me… after crying from God’s rejection, despite all the pain, He didn’t forget His purpose. Through it all, Jesus did not forget why he came to earth. Thus, I believe, we all are on earth for a purpose. We are to reach the pinnacle of our existence by finding out that purpose and never forgetting it. No matter what.
“Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” –Luke 23:44-49
We all want to make a dent in the universe, but do we care what legacy we leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? Too often we buy the nothing that we are all falling stars; shine brightly while you can as you fall to be forgotten. As a young person, I have seen many of us make attempts to start so many bright ideas that never last simply because of our inability to follow through The takeaway for us from Jesus’s example is this: more important than how we started is how we end… a true legacy is finishing well. Instead of trying to just be seen, let us try to also be remembered.
I hope this speaks to someone as it did to me.
Authored by Joshua S. Kulah
Featured Picture by LiGerian Optics