Today's lectionary reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42
Passage selected for reflection: Hebrews 10:16-25 (NIV)
Today the Church observes Good Friday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death on Calvary.
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Today is Good Friday. We as 21st century followers of Jesus have the benefit of history. Today is Good Friday because we know Sunday is coming, we know Jesus rose from the dead and declared victory over sin and death. We know that on Friday, even though it happens on Sunday. Our passage today from Hebrews reminds us of work that Jesus did on the cross, which allows us to be in right standing before God, in relationship with God and find beloved community with the People of God. God made a Covenant with his people where “sins and lawless acts” will no longer be remembered and a new way opened to be with God in and because of the work of Christ on Good Friday.
After the author of Hebrews gives a reminder of the work of Christ, the readers are exhorted to hold on to the hope of Christ because God is faithful AND to encourage one another on towards living as ones called by God, especially in light of the “Day” where God will make all things right. It’s a powerful and packed passage. The hope that we profess, the hope of Christ is not a hope just for individuals but it is a hope for community and in light of God’s ongoing work.
The events we remember on Good Friday drive us towards community. In this year, more than most, we are reminded of our need for community, of our need for each other. COVID has made it near impossible to meet together, but even in these extraordinary times, let us find (socially distant) ways to encourage one another’s faith. Let us remind each other that we are not alone, especially as verse 25 says, “as you see the Day approaching.” The Day is coming, where Jesus will come again to make all things right once and for all.
The Day is coming when every person, every community and the systems, structures and powers and principalities will be made right, just as God intended. But until then, we in faith participate in the work of furthering the reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, because we hold to the faith that we profess and know that our God who promised is faithful. Just as we remember that Good Friday is indeed good, because we know Resurrection Sunday is coming, we can hold firm to the reality that Jesus has come and he will come again to make all things new.
Take a moment and meditate on the gift of grace God has given us in Christ. Think about how you can both encourage those around you AND remind them (or yourself) of the greater Kingdom reality we live in the midst of.
Almighty God- Thank you that we are yours in Christ Jesus. May we always be reminded of the awesome privilege and responsibility we have to participate in bringing forth your intended reality on earth as it is in heaven. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear who you are calling us to love, where you are calling us to belong and what you are calling us to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
About the Author
Valeri Chow Tao resides in Chicago. Valeri is a child of God, wife, mother, non profit professional, musician, chaplain and future pastor.