In the early morning hours of that original Good Friday, in those pitch-black hours just after midnight, the One who healed the sick, made the blind to see, and embraced lepers and outcasts with hands that created the universe, agonized in the damp garden air as His closest friends slept, and another came to betray Him.
With a simple kiss, of all things, the day’s events were set in motion, a succession of humiliations, beatings, and mockery, all precursors to His destiny, a pathway to a Roman cross on a hill where death and suffering reigned supreme.
In the torrent of activity that followed, biblical accounts give us a painful look at the real Good Friday, the one that makes us flinch, the one that doesn’t fit our feel-good narratives or conform to our contemporary sense of justice. We’re told of false witnesses. We’re told of repeated interrogations. We’re told of merciless beatings. We’re told of the stinging denials by one of His beloved disciples, who just hours before swore he would never betray Him.
We’re told He was made to be a fool before Herod, a man with a twisted desire to see some type of stunt for his own entertainment, a sideshow from the Man who would soon be crushed between the gears of politics, religion, and depravity. Everyone would get in on the action on this day.
Refusing to play the game, He was sent back to the one who couldn’t shuffle way from the decision hanging on his authority over life and death. It was before Pilate that He stood again, now that the little game with Herod had run its course, knowing what the outcome would be, knowing a legion of angels stood at His disposal should He wish to call upon them, knowing this was the will of His Father.
It was then, in the heat and the fury of the moment, that one simple question was asked that haunts our world yet today: “What is truth?”
Did time momentarily suspend when these words dropped from Pilate’s lips? Did he look into the swollen face of Christ, the Son of God perhaps arm’s length away, expecting a reply? Or was this only a clever exercise in rhetoric, a convenient query designed to deflect inconvenient conclusions, an empty appeal from one who really didn’t care to know the answer.
There on that spot where Pilate and Jesus stood, as a brutal scourging and a crown of thorns waited in the wings of history’s most meaningful stage, a powerful man asked a far more powerful King the question on which all of humanity hangs: “What is truth?”
Here is truth: it was on that first Good Friday, a day so misunderstood, forgotten or ignored in today’s busy world, that He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God.
The One who stepped from His throne and took on flesh, who grew as an unborn child in His virgin mother’s womb, who looked with compassion on a lost and hurting humanity, was nailed to a cross to pay a debt not a single one of us could ever pay on our own. Rich or poor, lovely or unlovely, basking in limelight or dying in a gutter, He paid the debt in full for all who place their trust in Him.
Why? Because every single human life is created in the image of God. Our value is so great to Him that He died for us. This is the truth of a love that surpasses all understanding. He came to seek and save the lost, He paid the debt in full, and He rose on the third day in triumph over sin and death.
And yet today, our world still asks: what is truth?
Our approach to life, culture, and eternity hinges on our answer to the question.
May you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter celebration.
President and CEO