Brothers and Sisters,
Have you noticed the great irony in our social distancing criteria? Here’s what I mean…How far apart are we supposed to stay from others not in our immediate family unit? Answer: 6ft. Now, in what other context do we often think of a six-foot distance? Answer: A grave. We are buried “six-feet under,” or so the saying goes. Ironically, this parallel is entirely appropriate. We’ve died a death, of sorts, in the “shelter-in-place,” “social distancing” world that we inhabit today. There’s sense in which we’re walking through an experience of the grave.
It’s highly apropos that we, the living, would taste some small measure of death as the clock ticks down on this Good Friday. Today, we remember that Jesus died – he died on a cross under the crushing wrath of God in order to glorify his Father by saving undeserving sinners like us. Jesus, literally, experienced Hell in that place called Golgotha. He did this so that we who follow him by grace through faith will not undergo the same. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18, NASB).
On the day of his crucifixion, Jesus was dead by about 3:00 pm and his body was buried before sundown. In spirit he returned once again to the presence of the Father in heaven (Luke 23:44), but bodily Jesus entered a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-54). As your Friday comes to a close, remember the cross. As your Saturday begins to dawn, remember the grave. Be helped by our moment of living death (not to be too dramatic, but it is six feet after all) to think and pray with a mind toward Jesus’ death and Jesus’ burial, all the while anticipating the joy that lies ahead. Sunday’s coming…