Unprecedented

We’ve all heard it said—ad nauseam—we are living in “unprecedented” times. What a word: unprecedented. Since you are alive, you know what plagues humanity—you are living it. None of us have escaped it. This unprecedented season has been a season of devastating isolation and great confusion. This word brings with it memories of the trauma, corruption, falsehood, malign, and vitriol in this season of pause. This season, with its memories of death upon death—death by infection and death by destruction at the hands of man—has been heartbreaking!

Born to Die and Live Again
Photo by Angel Ambrose

There was another unprecedented season over two thousand years ago. It was unprecedented that Mary, a young Jewish girl with a family lineage that included scandal, would become a pregnant-virgin. She gave birth to the God-Man Jesus, the Christ—fully human, fully God: again, unprecedented! By the hands of the guilty onesfull of corruption, accusations, slander, hate, rage, jealousy, and every other vile motiveinflicted death. Jesus lived in unprecedented times, when by the hands of many, the guilty murdered the only One who is truly Good. 

Many a man might die for a good person, who but Jesus would die for the guilty? 

Pierced
Photo by Angel Ambrose

Jesus was born, He died, He overcame death, and broke sin’s curse when He rose again. Why? To be with us. He made a way to be together by taking our sins on the cross. We’ve recently seen the hateful crowds get carried away: I fear I would have been one in the crowd  carried away crying, “Crucify Him!” I pray I would have been like Mary at His feet. Either way, He still hung on that cross, until He was dead.

Today many believe in sides—especially their side: we are a polarized mess. We believe in good and bad and many believe they are on the right side, while others believe their side is correct. Romans 3:9 makes it perfectly clear: There is no one righteous, not even one.

Broken
Photo by Angel Ambrose

Where God is concerned, we are all on the wrong side of Him. Through Jesus we cross over to God’s side. In fact, we become the righteousness of Christ and that is why Good Friday is such a good thing!

Isaiah 53
Photo by Angel Ambrose

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Dear God, we admit we have been part of the problem, even when we think we have “been good”. We ask you to forgive our sins (sin simply means missing the mark). Help us know you better. Help us know know how to love, sacrificially, like you Jesus.

Thank you for coming for us! Thank you for Good Friday and the amazing Resurrection Day that followed. I pray that each of my friends reading this, will feel Your love and the love of others. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen

This post is dedicated to my “Sisters” Bible study ladies who give me much love and room to wrestle with all the hard and beautiful things of God.

About the Art

This is a series of images that I imagined as a potential entry for the Twelfth annual, “What’s So Good About Good Friday?” Virtual Art Show which is a collaboration between Art Circle of Bloomington-Normal and Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Bloomington, IL. 

As I was taking down my Christmas tree, I took down the nail—it pierces me each time I see it. When hung, it is nestled in amongst all the sparkly, beautiful ornaments. It is hung each year to remind me of why we celebrate Jesus’s birth. I sat it on the table and noticed my nativity that was a gift decades ago. I couldn’t help but notice how cherub-like baby Jesus was…and how caucasian. Oh, how we dress things up! The olive-skinned Jew came to be savagely brutalized and betrayed by us! Oh, how we have been so savage and brutal and blind to each other! My eyes saw and I show you: beauty, because there is; absurdity, because there is; and brokenness because there is. And Jesus came for all of it and more.

He is The Bread of Life, broken for usbroken to heal us.

He was pierced for our offenses, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; the punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

If you would like to see the piece I entered for the show, you can see You Are with Me based on Psalm 23.

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