GOOD FRIDAY: “Forgive them.”
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
The prayer of Jesus in the garden (Matthew 26:36-46) with His disciples reveals much of His humanity and yet, at the same time, His being fully God. While He asks all of His disciples to pray, He brings a few that were even closer to Him–His DNA group, if you will–to come further into Gethsemane and watch with Him. We see Him asking if there is another way, hear Him admit to them that the flesh is weak, even though the Spirit is willing. He knows, though, whose He is, and thus goes willingly into the hands of His betrayer, into an illegal court trial, into an excruciating crucifixion (Mark 15:16-32).
We know that through our weakness, Jesus is strong, yet we live like the disciples in this most intimate moment of the wrestling of Jesus with His flesh. He asks three to come in and keep watch, to share this pain this battle against the flesh. And. They. Sleep. They neglect the Spirit of God living in them and succumb to the flesh, which has been through a strange week with the One with whom they’ve shared life for three years.
Judas is the first to outwardly betray Him…and not just Him, but His friendship. On His journey to the cross, He knows Peter betrays Him, and His feeling of betrayal is heightened again. The flesh wages a battle and yet Jesus remains obedient to what His Father has asked Him to do, not only for Him, but for us. We see the humanity of Jesus on full display throughout the entire journey to the cross.
As He is struggling for breath after breath, dying in unbelievable pain on the cross, His flesh reveals abandonment, as He asks why His Father has forsaken Him. Jesus can identify with our flesh as this entire day exhibits how difficult fighting the flesh is, but it also reveals that the Spirit of God in Him was more powerful! In such a short span of time, He went from a triumphal entry to a humiliating death, all at the hands of the same people, who were more willing to give into their flesh than to allow the Spirit of God to work in and through them. In a final display of the Spirit, of the realization that He is truly God, He says as some of His last words of these people that He loved and for whom He was dying, “Father, forgive them.”
Because He is God, He is good. Hence we see Him at His arrest heal a servant whose ear was cut off (Luke 22:47-53). In Matthew 26:57-68, He is quiet, except to confirm the Truth that they accuse Him of: being the Son of God. At the end of John 18, when even Pilot says he is not guilty, He does not argue or fight taking the place of the murderer Barabbas. On the cross, when He could come down, He provides access to the Father when the veil is torn in the temple (Matthew 27:45-54). Finally, as He is dying on the cross, He forgives the people–and us!–who put Him there in Luke 23:34. That is why it is Good Friday. We now have the Spirit of Christ living in us because He gave us that!