Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is observed in commemoration of Crucifixion of Jesus. Friday, April 07, 2023 is observed as Good Friday and I “Behold The Man” who promises to set me “Free” from Slavery, Serfdom, and Bondage to Sin. These Blessings of Salvation are shared by Saint Matthew in His Gospel, Chapter 11, verses 28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In the literal sense, yoke is a wooden frame or bar with loops or bows at either end, so constructed as to unite two animals, usually oxen, enabling them to work in the fields. Yoke is figuratively used in the sense of Servitude. Yoke is a symbol or mark of Bondage, Subjection, Serfdom, Slavery, Forced Labor, and Involuntary Servitude.
Good Friday is of very special interest to man for it reveals God’s costly plan for the redemption of man. The word redemption means to release, or freedom from payment of a price and man’s freedom or deliverance, or liberation involving the greatest possible depth of suffering. The price paying concept lies at the heart of redemption and hence it is a costly action. For man is a “Slave” to sin, to set him free, a ransom-price is paid. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) The emphasis is on the giving of Life as a ransom. Good Friday is a completed act for Jesus paid the ransom-price. Jesus performed this action with Whole Patience. It is immaterial as to whom Christ paid this price. For man, the only concern is to experience the results of this full redemption by receiving God’s grace and mercy through Christ and His Love. On Good Friday, Jesus had gone through the whole of human experience including the worst horrors of pain and humiliation.
On Good Friday, Jesus did not rebuke the people who offended and punished Him. Jesus did not express any desire to retaliate against them and did not express any thoughts or feelings of Self-Pity. Jesus after His crucifixion said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34)
On Friday, April 07, 2023, Good Friday 2023, I reflect upon the unique and special relationship between Jesus, the Son of Man and God. I am alien, foreigner, sojourner, stranger, tenant and traveler with no place to call home.
I describe myself as Simon a Cyrenian bearing the burden of the cross under compulsion and following Jesus. I am in the City of Jerusalem and yet I am an alien for I am not a citizen of Rome, not a citizen of Israel, not a citizen of Judea, and not a citizen of Galilee. I follow Jesus but I have not yet entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth to claim the citizenship status.
I describe myself as the alien who carries the burden of the cross as Jesus slowly moves to reach His earthly destination. Jesus is spared from the burden of carrying the cross on the day of His crucifixion. My discipleship is predestined by the Sovereign Grace and not by my belief or disbelief, or free will.
I reflect upon the Great Struggle, the Agony of the Cup held by Jesus and the Burden of the Cross I carry. The completed act of Crucifixion resolved the Agony of the Cup, the Great Struggle endured by Jesus. I am the alien who is present when Jesus cries out as the Agony of the Cup comes to its conclusion.
I reflect upon the words of Jesus on Good Friday 2023. Before getting nailed to the Cross, and before the final hour after His crucifixion, Jesus expresses His special and unique relationship to God by addressing God as Abba or Father.
After getting nailed to the Cross, I hear the final seven words cried out by Jesus. The special and unique relationship between the Father and the Son of Man suddenly disappears. The personal God gets transformed into impersonal God.
On Good Friday 2023, I am reflecting upon the difference between the words Father and God, the two different words used by Son of Man before getting nailed to the Cross, and after the completion of the act of Crucifixion that is nearing its conclusion. In my analysis, the difference between Father and God reflects upon the nature of the relationship. The Father-Son relationship cannot be experienced in the God-man relationship which imposes a degree of detachment, estrangement, separation, and alienation. For I describe myself as an alien, I bear the burden of the Cross as I painfully march to the destination when the struggle finally reaches its conclusion, at the ninth hour, I ask myself, “My God, Why have You forsaken me.”
On Good Friday 2023, I reflect upon the final words of the Son of Man. His words relate to the words of pain and anguish shared by King David, the King of Israel and the author of the Book of Psalms. The pain is the same. But, the Agony of the Cup and the Burden of the Cross are different. The Agony of the Cup gets revealed to Father. The pain of Crucifixion gets revealed to God. Father vs God. What is the difference? What makes the difference? What is the difference between personal God and impersonal God?
I describe myself as Simon a Cyrenian bearing the burden of the cross under compulsion and following Jesus. I am drawn to follow Jesus and there is no free will involved. There are no exceptions to this rule.
I am Simon Cyrene for I am predestined to follow Jesus Christ to carry the Burden of the Cross without seeking the reward of Salvation or Everlasting Life.
On this Good Friday, I ask my readers to reflect upon the Yoke of Burden carried by Jesus and my burden is light for He paid penalty on my behalf. However, I have not yet entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. There is no escape from the reality of walking to my grave carrying the burden of the Cross.
On April 07, 2023, Good Friday, this humble slave has accepted the reality of walking to his grave carrying the burden of the Cross. There is no real Freedom unless and until this slave enters the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I am “alien” for I have not yet entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
For I describe myself as an alien, I bear the burden of the Cross as I painfully march towards my earthly destination and when the struggle finally reaches its conclusion, at the ninth hour, I ask myself, “My God, my God, Why have You forsaken me.”