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Letter #204: Good Friday

April 22, 2011

Dear Good Friday,

I’m overwhelmed by your significance. I’m grateful for your symbolism. My emotions are conflicted with sadness and great joy. Sad about the great rejection Christ faced on the cross and still today, but joyful that rejection and attempts at squelching his impact on society didn’t succeed. In AD 33 (ish), the people didn’t have the knowledge that Christ had indeed fulfilled the Scriptures and rose from the dead on the third day. So, imagine His followers then. Lack of understanding. Great mourning. Questioning whether He really was who He said He was and wondering if He really would raise from the dead.

Here I sit in 2011, with full knowledge of the big picture, and I am still grieved by what Christ went through to save me from my sins, yet I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that He made a way for me to be in communion with God.

As I think through what you really entail, reflect on your meaning and read through the Gospels at the actual account of your events, my mind keeps taking me back to 14 months ago. Last night and this morning I read Matthew’s accounts of the last couple days of Christ’s life, and mental pictures of Gethsemane, Caiaphas’ house and Golgotha vividly paint themselves in my mind.

Fourteen months ago, I had the opportunity to go with my Kanakuk Institute class to Israel. Brief commercial: if you ever get the chance to visit Israel, GO…trip of a lifetime. Back to the regularly scheduled broadcasting. I saw more in nine days than I can share right now, but the last day was spent walking through the last days and moments of Jesus’ life.

I walked down the path where the triumphal entry is thought to have been. (Matt. 21)

Possible path of triumphal entry overlooking Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount.

I sat and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus pleaded with God for another way of this all playing out, but also placed the will of God above His own. Jesus was also betrayed and arrested here. (Matt. 26:36-55)

Thankful a friend captured this during our time in the garden.

In the Garden of Gethsemane overlooking Jerusalem...specifically the Dome of the Rock, also known as Temple Mount.

I visited Caiaphas’ house, the first place Jesus was held prisoner and questioned. (Matt. 26: 57-68)

An actual jail cell in Caiaphas' house...Jesus'??

I walked on part of the Via Dolorosa, the path believed to be where Jesus carried the cross.

I stood at Golgotha, the place of the skull, where Jesus was crucified for my sins and for yours and the place where He eventually died. Surreal…more than you can imagine. (Matt. 27:33-56)

Golgatha...look closely and you can see a skull face in the rock!

Golgatha with an Islamic bus station right next to it. Weird how city has been built where Jesus was crucified.

There are a hundred stories I could tell you about each of these locations. How prophecy was fulfilled perfectly. How Gethsemane is the only quiet place I visited while in the city of Jerusalem. How part of Golgotha has been blown up and a bus station owned by Islamic people built. Tons of stories, but there’s only one story that really matters. Christ died so we may live. A completely innocent, sinless man endured the cross and made Himself the ultimate sacrifice, so you and I could spend eternity with Him.

Blown away by gratefulness for Christ and the cross,

Sinner saved by God’s grace

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