April 22, Good Friday
April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
The author of Hebrews continues to speak of the persecuted church and of martyrs. For the early Christian church, this would have been a contemporary reality; the author of Hebrews is describing their current situation. Believers were driven to hide or to flee, though they were not deserving of such treatment. Within our current context, we may not be able to access a common frame of reference with the original audience; with our current religious freedoms, most of us have not been driven to hiding or to flight. Even though we may not be able to immediately identify with the original audience, a couple of points stand out to us.
We remember that these are still actions of faith; these men and women lived through their sufferings because they were able to live their lives in a way that demonstrated their conviction that something better was coming. They anticipated the promises of God and lived in anticipation of these promises being fulfilled. In so doing, they rose to a height above their present trials. This is why the author says that they were too good for the world in which they lived: because they lived their lives according to a superior understanding of what was important and what was worthy of pursuit.
This verse also reminds us of Christ, when he calls people to follow him and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God in Luke 9.57-62. In v. 58 specifically, Jesus points out that foxes have dens and birds have nests, but Christ has no place to rest. This speaks to us about the Christian life. Places of safety, peace, and security may not always be the norm. In certain parts of the world, followers of Christ must live in this reality. All who suffer in this way suffer as Christ did.
Today, we celebrate Good Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion. As we pause to reflect within ourselves and with others upon this event, we remember Christ’s sufferings. We remember his humanity. We realize that there is nothing within the human existence that he did not experience – even death. However, these events did not change Christ; rather, these things were redeemed by Christ touching them. This is part of what we celebrate on Easter. However, today, let us ponder the reality that Christ suffered and died in order to redeem these things. How are we living in the reality of Christ’s death? How are we following his example and dying ourselves?
As we journey through Lent together, may we die with Christ.
“Dear Lord, thank you for your word that gives examples of the life that your Son led. As we celebrate this Holy Week, compel and enable us to live as he did, that we may die to ourselves and receive new life in Him. Amen.”