This evening I will participate in our church’s journey through the events of Good Friday.  Following is the meditation I will share during that service.

Matthew 27:45-54

Forsaken.  He hung there in condemnation and humiliation, enduring horrific public suffering.

We sing of how we are forgiven because He was forsaken.

And then we sing, “You are my king.”

You, the forsaken One.  You, the mocked One.  You, the bleeding and dying One.

You are my king.

It isn’t how we would picture a king.  It isn’t how we would picture our king.

When kings die, there is fanfare and regal ceremony.  There are proclamations of greatness and memorials of accomplishments.  When kings die, the whole world takes note.

But by the time that Jesus breathed His last, all but one of the disciples had deserted Him.  Not many people were left to witness His final moments.  And most of those who were present didn’t remain out of respect for Him.  His death doesn’t fit the mold.  It wouldn’t be considered appropriate for royalty.  And yet, we proclaim Him – the forsaken One – our king.

No, He wasn’t what He was expected to be in life.  And now certainly not in death.  But this reveals to us something we like to avoid about His kingship, namely that we prefer to think of our king as resurrected and not crucified.  Conquering and not bleeding.  Yet that is the glorious irony of the cross – that it was on that tree beneath the weight of a thorny crown that we find the victor and ruler of all.

Luke tells us in his gospel that the rejoicing of Jesus’ disciples upon his approach into Jerusalem caused great consternation among the Pharisees.  They told Jesus to rebuke these men who proclaimed Him as king (Luke 19:39-40).

“I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  (Luke 19:40)

And so, when all but one of the Twelve had abandoned Him and the silence was deafening from the crowds who days earlier had given Him a conqueror’s welcome, the rocks split (Matt. 27:51).

When the Son of God took His final breath, all of creation took note.

For Jesus Christ was no ordinary king.  And His death was no ordinary death.

In John’s Revelation we discover that the triumphant Lion of Judah is the slain Lamb of God standing in the center of God’s throne.  The Lord of all creation won the battle there on the cross.

The curtain in the temple was torn in two (Matt. 27:51).

And we are ushered into the throne room by His blood.

On this Good Friday, we gaze upon our crucified King, and like the centurion we too proclaim, “Truly He is the Son of God.”

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