“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” John the Baptist said of Jesus in John 1:29. A lamb on the way to slaughter? This isn’t the pastoral picture of cuddly sheep; it is the terror of inevitable death – the bloody orgy of sacrifice that shocks us, and hints to some “real” cost to sin – “for the wages of sin is death.”
There is nothing but a solemn sense of worship and bewilderment in the shadow of the cross this Good Friday. I have very little to offer save what is known as the Good Friday Collect from the Common Book of Prayer:
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and give up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen
Contented to be betrayed? What a ghastly phrase to escape my lips; even more, how terrible to know the contentment of joy, despite unspeakable pain, including the pain of betrayal of friends, especially when needed most.
No wonder we are beckoned to “fix your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…” Fix your eyes on Him who liveth and reigneth with the Father and Holy Spirit, One God in eternal friendship and united communion, world without end, and I would add, without time.
Oh the mystery of the unfailing love of God and His eternal nature!