Good Friday, 2010
Good Friday. The darkest day on the Christian calendar. Judas betrayed Christ to the San Hedrin. His other disciples fled after his arrest. The disciple who proclaimed himself his most faithful follower denied three times that he even knew him.
He was arrested by the Jews, tried by the Romans, and denounced by the same crowds that had once flocked to hear him preach.
Pontius Pilate, upon a warning from his wife who was a follower of Jesus’, washed his hands of the crowds’ sentence upon Christ. He was mocked, whipped, and tortured, given a crown of thorns, and led through the Jerusalem’s streets to be crucified.
There on the cross, he suffered for nine hours until God called his spirit home. And why was he tormented? Well, basically, because he challenged the authority of the Jewish leaders and the Roman government.
Because he challenged the authority of common man to hold himself above God’s laws. Because he told the truth, and none of them liked it very much. His whole life was like that. The people of Nazareth once tried to throw him off a cliff.
“A prophet is without honor in his own country,” he said to them. Then brushing himself off, walked away and went on his mission.
Among his last words, in prayer, were: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Sentenced to be crucified with him were two thieves. One of them asked Jesus, if he was the son of God, why he didn’t save himself?
The other remonstrated, “Don’t you fear God, since you’re under the same sentence? We are punished justly for our crimes. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
He then asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.
“Truly, I say to you:” Christ responded, “today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Phoebe Prince, and all the other children who could no longer bear a punishment they did not deserve, are now with him in that same paradise, under His everlasting protection.
Jesus had begged God not to put him through the torture to come. But he understood and answered his own prayer, “Yet not my will, but yours, be done.”
Jesus would not have any innocent child throw their life away needlessly. Children are not taught to pray and trust in God as they once were. Ask, and the Almighty will send you help.
Probably the help will arrive in some human form. If the help fails, tell God, and ask Him again. With me, it was my mother, bursting unexpectedly through the classroom door, like the cavalry charging over the hill in a western movie.
He is listening, and watching. If you don’t ask, though, there’s not much He can do for you. He has to know that you want His help and you have to believe that He’ll help you. As for those of you watching, but not doing anything, God is watching you, too.
Most of all, He’s watching the bullies. He’s watching you as you gleefully pummel the innocent, thinking there’s nothing anyone can do about it, not even God. He listens as you listen to Lucifer instead of Him.
You think you have everyone intimidated. The weaker kids. The teachers. The principal. Even your parents. You defy censure and punishment. You bide your time with physical intervention. Tomorrow is another day.
They can stop you, you think, but they can’t change your hearts. You believe in Darwin, not Jesus. Survival of the fittest, the strongest, the best-looking. The cunning. The savvy. Your rule is the law of the jungle, not civilization. You’re totally fearless.
You’re the best-looking girl in school. Your boyfriend is the captain of the high school football team. He wanted to make you jealous, so he took advantage of the new girl in school then dumped her for you and your friends to vilify. So what?
Or maybe you’re the captain of the drug gang. Or maybe just a thug who grew up believing that might makes right, and that homely girls never had a right to be born, or that the fat should stop gorging themselves, or that gay kids should go back in the closet – even if you are the one who dragged them out in the first place.
Or even if they aren’t actually homosexual. They act like it. That’s good enough for you. The nerds. The geeks. The dorks. The queers. They’ve all got it coming, don’t they? Yeah.
You’re not afraid of anything. You can laugh off any admonition, mock any warning, dismiss any prediction. You have “the power.” Psychologists call you “sociopaths"; the only name anyone dares to call you.
Still, here’s a warning for you (you’ll find it in Revelations 3:10):
“I know your deeds. You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”