On Good Friday, we remembered Jesus’ crucifixion. The death of Jesus is not strictly a religious event. The events around his killing tell us about our world and life together.
The word “messiah” is Hebrew for “the one anointed” who brings about the long awaited restoration. Claiming Jesus as the Messiah means we claim him to be the one who lives and embodies that life. Good Friday remembers the day that the messiah that had come, at human hands, died.
The consensus of the crowd to kill Jesus shows the horrors of group-think in political processes. Today, persons without names and faces to us, in institutions and on country sides, suffer and die due to little more than others’ consent.
The trial that condemned Jesus reveals the power of human blindness and frailty of human justice. Today, individuals and families hang in the balance unprotected by laws that protect the powerful, by personal prejudices, and denied justice by due process. Like Jesus, often persons are victims of systemic racism, sexism, prejudice and indifference.
The Temple leaders that conspired against Jesus both feared him and failed him. The empire that carried out his crucifixion claimed it was divine and peaceful. Pax Romana – Roman Peace – was founded on self-righteousness, exploitation, and the violence expressed in the cross. Violence and “might makes right” authored both Roman peace and Jesus’ death.
Every year, we remember Jesus’ death to remember the nature of every human failure, every injustice, every tragic ending, every victim, and all unnecessary suffering. The death of hope – living breathing like the messiah – is an ongoing reality.
We remember the failure of the Temple priests not because they were Jewish, but to remember the failure of every religious institution, every religious person, and corruption of all religious idolatry.
We remember crucifixion not to romanticize violence, but to remember the violence that founds every empire, including our own. Pilate sentenced Jesus to death to preserve himself. He neglected his innocence for the sake of convenience and false peace. It is easier to hold onto power than to uphold equity, mercy, and justice with others.
On Good Friday, we remember the death of innocence, unnecessary poverty, environmental degradation, human neglect, and sanctioned violence. We do not separate ourselves from unjust conditions. In Jesus, there is every tortured body, every beaten wife, every hungry child, every abused person, abandoned soul, and victim of injustice.
This is a video produced for Graceland University’s Good Friday Service, which we hold at midnight on Good Friday. It’s a three minute tribute to remembering the day Jesus died.