Thoughts from Good Friday

Gethsemane

I grew up in Church. Somewhat. My mom would take me to church, and would I go along happily, excited to see my friends and sing songs. I had well understood from a young age that Jesus died for my sins, and rose again. However every Easter was spent with little emphasis on Jesus, and more emphasis placed on candy and pastel dresses. Sure, Jesus dying for me was real, but it was also abstract. It’s a difficult thing to comprehend—the God of the entire universe dying… for me.

Sometime in March, Aaron emailed me, and asked if I wanted to make some art for Good Friday. He had a general layout, but mostly just encouraged me to meditate on the gospels and paint whatever came to mind. This worried me. What if whatever makes sense to me and my relationship with Christ doesn’t make sense to anyone else? What if my art, which is supposed to help people meditate on Jesus’s death, came up short? What if I lost sight of what was important, and let it become about me as an artist, and not about Jesus as our Savior? After praying for a few days, I felt God pulling me to this project and decided to go for it. I started at Mark 14.

Betrayed

I started taking note of the emotions in each section of passage. Pretty soon I found myself getting angry at Judas, infuriated at Pilate, and disappointed in the disciples. How dare Pilate stand by and not do anything? How dare Judas betray Jesus? My Jesus. My God. My love.

Then I came to the word “scourged”. I realized I had no idea what “scourged” meant, and so I looked it up. It means to “whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.”

And I started crying. And I didn’t stop. I had always known that Jesus was “scourged” but I had never SEEN it before. Suddenly His back was torn open before my eyes and He looked weak and His body was broken. His shoulders were slumped. He was humiliated and tortured, and no one stood up for Him. No one stepped forward. I started asking over and over again, why? Why didn’t You stop this? Why didn’t You find another way? You begged the Father to take the cup from you, and He didn’t. Why?

I am

And then I remembered that tiny fact that I had known all along. It was for me. All along, Jesus could have come down off the cross and called a halt to the whole thing. But instead, when accusations were hurled at Him, all He said, was “I am.”

And my heart was filled with gratitude. I got to a place where I knew there was nothing left for me to do; all I could do was thank Him. I couldn’t mourn Him; He rose again and defeated death. I couldn’t be angry at Pilate or Judas or the Disciples; this had to happen. All I could do was be filled with immense, life-giving, gratitude.

~Emily Simpson

 

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