This struck me as a bit premature. It was Maundy Thursday, the day when the Christian community remembers the Last Supper, Jesus’ anguished hours praying in the garden of Gesthemane, and his midnight betrayal by Judas and arrest by the religious authorities. On Maundy Thursday, we remember that the Way of Jesus exposes us to persecution and betrayal.
And yet, without Jesus’ ministry and prophetic witness, without his suffering and death, the resurrection is stripped of its power. The joy of Easter without the tears of betrayal and the agony of the cross is a perversion of the Good News. The heart of the gospel is that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has fully identified with humanity, taking on our suffering, our burdens, our sin. By becoming a human being, by teaching and healing us, and by taking all our hate and violence upon himself, Jesus shows us how much God loves us – enough to suffer and die for those who hate him.
Today is Good Friday, the day when the Christian community remembers Jesus’ torture and execution at the hands of the imperial and religious authorities. As we remember the price that Jesus paid to liberate us from bondage, let us also remember that we continue to live in a world where the innocent are crushed by the religious and imperial authorities. Let us examine our own hearts to see where our responsibility lies. Are we like the crowd that screamed, “crucify, crucify!“? Or perhaps we are like the disciples, who scattered and hid when persecution came.