GOOD FRIDAY 2018
Rev. Dierdra Clark
Reading Mathew 27 can bring both sorrow and joy. The joy is of course, that as believers we know the risen King. However, we also know that Jesus went through suffering at the Cross. It is the profound humility and strength that Jesus illustrates simultaneously, that can provide hope and restoration to us all. But many times, as followers we go right to the hope. There is no mistake that the book of Matthew provides a very illustrative account of the crucifixion, and therefore we can not only ignore that part, including the cruelty that was put upon Jesus, but we must also reflect on what it means for us as believers.
For me, the image that stands out is the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. Matthew 27:28 says,” They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.” It brings to mind the thorns that haunt me. The things in my life that get in the way of my life in Christ. Those things that are my sins. We see the word thorns in Genesis, particularly in the Garden where Eve and Adam succumb to their own desires and sin. Genesis 3:17-18 says, “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field”.
Man is full of thorns that Jesus redeems. But in order to fully understand and appreciate all that God redeems, we must be willing to face our thorns. We must be willing to look at the ugly and to face all that it means for us.
In those final hours, Jesus was mocked and humiliated. Jesus was beaten, slandered and spit on. This senseless torture is sometimes hard to even imagine. But imagine and digest it we must! In all of the cruelty, God’s plan was not derailed and God’s ultimate victory was not set aside. And this is what we must remember when considering our own lives. The agony of the Cross illuminates God’s love for us. Likewise, in our lives we must acknowledge the thorns in order for us to truly understand who God is and how he can work in our lives. There is nothing that can stop God’s love for us. Matthew 27 teaches us that so well. So, we must go to God with all of who we are, including our thorns. That is when God can redeem it all and that is when we can truly feel the great joy of living our life in Christ. What are your thorns?