“[Azariah] went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2 )
So many thoughts are jumbled around in my mind as I read this passage and place it in the context of Good Friday.
First – Prayer is so essential to the Christian life. Jesus took time away often during his ministry to pray. And as he faced the toughest and final chapter in his ministry, he prayed all night in the garden of Gethsemane. Several, if not all, the gospels talk about him praying so fiercely that he sweat blood. It must be a Divine thing. Or an embellishment by the gospel writers.
Second – I think of Christ crying out on the cross “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?!” But that too must be a Divine or gospel writer thing because Christ never forsake God, so why would God forsake Christ? And Christ commended his spirit (His Spirit) into God’s hands. We should do likewise.
Third – God was with Christ throughout the traveling from judicial court to judicial court. That was what most of Christ’s day contained. While it might seem that God left Christ to whatever might happen to him, God was with Jesus every step. I am sure that Jesus Christ prayed to God as he journeyed from accuser to accuser, and the steps to the hill where he was crucified. It could only have been the prayers in the garden that readied him for that day.
Fourth and final – While we might not be Divine and will probably not experience what Christ did, we can be as close to God in prayer that Jesus Christ was. Do not be surprised by this beloved. This is part of the example of Jesus being flesh as we are flesh. He communed the God as we can, through prayer, thoughts, song meditation etc – all things that we can do too!
May you beloved keep all of these things in mind this day. Selah!
As I said beloved, today is Good Friday. In the lectionary we read:
“See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.” from Isaiah 52: 13 to 53:12
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” from Psalm 22
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” from Hebrews 10:16-25
“Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” from Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 5:7-9
“After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.” from John 18:1 to 19:42
These passages bring to mind many of the elements of Good Friday. The prophecies of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Jesus’ agony on the cross. What Jesus’ sacrifice gives to us and means for us. And the example that it sets for us. And finally, Jesus willingness to allow himself to be put to death, for reasons that span from that time to today, and forward into the future. Each year we remember Jesus’ life and example. Each year we look towards Lent as a time to examine our own lives – where we have gone astray and where we have followed our Lord with dedication and love. And each year we celebrate we remember Christ’s death, and hope for life beyond our own deaths. May you beloved think on these things this day. Selah!