April 2015


On the first Good Friday at the Place of the Skull—Golgatha—nails were smashed through the wrists and feet of Jesus - the teacher from Nazareth. He was betrayed by friends, made fun of by soldiers, was a source of amusement and entertainment as he provided a spectacle for the crowds following him. The soldiers with indifference to his pain drew lots and divided up his meagre clothes. All the time his mother and a small knot of women friends helplessly looked on and watched in agony,

Always Good Friday continues. It happens again and again in terms of innocent suffering, of cruel tyrants with an indifferent public ready to enjoy the anguish and hurt of others. This year, as every year, there will be pain and suffering through terrorism and war and cruel crime. In the Gospels again and again we hear Jesus talking of his death to come. At the heart of his message was suffering.

The Russian soul of Dostoevsky describes so powerfully the words of Jesus concerning his own suffering and death:

“Loving humility is a terrible force:
It is the strongest of all things
And there is nothing like it”

The Gospels describe the ministry of Jesus as wrestling with all the powers of evil and seeking to destroy the darkness of sin and death, which engulfs the heart of mankind. Darkness is the symbol of evil

So we read that Judas betrays Jesus in the darkness of night. Likewise at the crucifixion, which marks the culmination of Jesus’ struggle with evil, the Gospel records in simple vivid words that at his death:
“there was a darkness over all the land!”

Good Friday is Jesus doing his Father's will. It shows that the love of God goes to the uttermost for the salvation of mankind. Here love reaches to the darkness of hell itself as it experiences the depths of human sin. For love is betrayed, abandoned and rejected by all but a few.

Yet love is not overwhelmed rather it rises above the darkness and selfishness all around and offers God’s peace. God’s reconciliation. God who made man and woman in the image of his love now makes them afresh in his love. This is why we use the word “atonement” for it simply means making one again. For is the peace and reconciliation is made by the death of Jesus on the cross.


It is only Good because of Easter Day. The death of Jesus without Easter Day would be vastly different. For it is the encounter of the women with the living Jesus that makes the evil of Good Friday understandable. For indeed:

Love’s redeeming work was done!
The fight was fought and the battle was won!

The Cross is the victory made plain in the resurrection. It is the declaration of victory. Jesus experience of being separated from God that feeling of apartness from God which led to his cry of dereliction became the call of triumph as he rose and walked in the garden to be seen by the faithful and loving women.

Good Friday with Easter Day is the proclamation of our faith. It is the good news that in the cross and resurrection there is new hope and life in the most appalling and dreadful of situations. On Good Friday and at Easter we know that even if we go down into hell then our God is there also. In the death of Jesus we know that love goes to the uttermost and in him we find our peace.

Revd. John Barrett