Betrayal, denial, blame, condemnation, shame, public humiliation, the demand for heads to roll.
Last weekend all that and more was being said about the Australian cricket team.
This weekend those same words describe what happened to Jesus Christ.
He had done nothing wrong. His life had been marked by selfless love and integrity. Yet Jesus was the one cheated on, publicly shamed, humiliated and hung out to dry on a cross in a field for all to mock. Even his friends ducked for cover.
At stake on Good Friday was more than a game, or saving face for the Aussie public before the eyes of the world. At stake was the saving of humanity in the eyes of God.
What happened last weekend and what we remember this weekend have connections we might reflect on, not by pointing the finger at others from the hill of our high moral ground, but seeing in the mirror our own self-centredness and where it can lead.
If we are honest, it is not just our cricket team who have ‘crossed the line’ when it comes to attitude and behaviour. Who hasn’t sought the advantage in a relationship, put self-first, sacrificed integrity for expediency, attempted to get ahead dishonestly, cheated the tax man or even their life-partner, or attempted to lie and cover up something? Have we always spoken out, stepped in or stepped up when we should have? The damage our own actions or inaction causes is at least as hurtful to people around us as the consequences of tampering with a ball during a game have been to us.
Good Friday is about seeing Jesus hanging his head on the cross, taking our guilt and shame away from us in the eyes of God. Easter is discovering the joy and freedom of God’s forgiveness and the new beginning and life that Christ’s rising again offers. With him there is always a way back, even from the grave.
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