Good Friday Reflection


“Being disguised under the disfigurement of an ugly crucifixion and death, the Christ upon the cross is paradoxically the clearest revelation of who God is.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar | Love Alone Is Credible

On Good Friday, we behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; we slowly gaze at the crucified Messiah to see Jesus as King. There is no way in one reflection to see all that the cross is, for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Christ crucified is a stumbling block to those who want a King who slaughters His enemies, and folly to those who seek power by means of violence and control. But Christ crucified is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

Here at the cross, we see Jesus revealing the character and nature of God. 

“When the crucified Jesus is called ‘the image of the invisible God,’ the meaning is that this is God and God is like this.”

– Jürgen Moltmann | The Crucified God

What does it mean that at the cross, the crucified Messiah what God is like?

God and Humanity

In the beginning, God created
The Spirit of God dwelt above the chaos
And by His spoken Word, 

From the chaos, He brings Beauty
From darkness, He releases Light
From nothing, He creates Life

And in its fullness, He calls it all very good

From the dust of the earth, God formed
The Spirit of God is breathed into the dust
And He makes in His image, human

Called to work and keep the goodness of the Garden
Destined to reign with God over His world
Instead, we chose rebellion, reaching for the wrong tree

And death becomes our destiny 

In pain and toil, we scrape out a living
In the sweat of our brow, we build a life
But despite our best efforts, we all become dust 

Slaves to sin and rebellion
Dominated by evil and the evil one
The ugliness of death is what marks our existence

Here, God’s image in us is broken and exiled, away from the garden

We build violent cities as a testament to our self-made kingdoms
We erect arrogant towers and monuments to assert our human power
And we amass oppressive empires to flaunt our vain glory

We have desecrated beauty, and have made the world ugly
We have corrupted goodness, and have multiplied evil on the earth
Instead of life and light, we have unleashed darkness and death

We’ve lost our home and we’ve lost ourselves

But God is merciful and gracious
He is slow to get angry
God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness

There is no chaos that will overwhelm His Goodness
There is no darkness that can eliminate His Light
There is no death more powerful than His Life

He was not without a plan, and we are not without Hope

Jesus: God and Man, Crown and Cross

In the beginning, was the Word
The Word dwelt among us
The Word became Human

And we beheld His glory
By Him, we could see the Light
In Him, we received Life

From His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace

From the womb of a virgin, He was formed
The Holy Spirit upon Him without measure
Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God

His work restored God’s goodness by healing the sick and cleansing lepers
His reign asserted by calming storms and casting demons out
He judges dead religion in turning over tables and cursing fruitless fig trees

But for us and our salvation, the cross is His destiny

In pain, Jesus’ body is scraped by the whip of soldiers
His brow bleeding from the crown of thorns beaten onto His head
Jesus is then exalted upon His throne, an instrument of Roman execution 

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
Behold, the King who defeats evil through sacrificial love
Behold, the Man, beauty marked by outstretched arms nailed to the cross

Here, the glorious image of God goes into ultimate exile: death

Yet this is how God’s kingdom comes, in Jesus’ humble sacrifice
God’s power is exercised by Jesus’ self-giving service
And His glory revealed in the broken body and shed blood of the King

The ugly crucifixion is transformed by God’s beautiful love
The evil of sin and the devil subverted by God’s goodness
And in the darkness of death on Good Friday, shines the light of salvation

At the cross, we are welcomed home as forgiven sons and daughters 

In the cross of Christ, we see God is merciful and gracious
In His broken body and shed blood, we see how He is slow to get angry
In His outstretched arms, we see Him abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness

At the cross, there is no evil that overwhelms His Goodness
There is no darkness that will eliminate His Light
There is no death more powerful than His Life

The cross was always His plan, and because of Christ crucified, we have Hope.

Posted on: 04.07.2023
A closeup of Jacob Sheriff Speaking

About the author:

Jacob Sheriff has had such radical encounters with the power of God that seeing people transformed by Jesus has become his life’s mission. Click here to learn more.

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