Simon’s Scrawl

Simon’s Scrawl

Good Friday! How could it possibly be called Good Friday?

The day on which your leader and hero was brutally

executed? Jesus was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on

which he would be crucified and then put to death. At first

sight it is difficult to see what is ‘good’ about it.

It certainly was an agonising death. The articles on pages

3&4 explain how offensive crucifixion was in the ancient

world, and how unthinkable it would have been for them

to wear it as an item of jewellery!

But strangely the gospel writers do not focus on the

physical suffering. Mark simply says ‘With a loud cry, Jesus

breathed his last’. John records ‘Jesus bowed his head and

gave up his spirit’. I know Hollywood likes to do the blood

and gore but that’s not where the gospel writers put their


It is in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before Jesus

was executed, that we begin to see the true agony of the

cross. We are told that he began to be deeply distressed

and troubled, and then he prays to his Father ‘Take this

cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’ (Mark

14:36). Why does he refer to his death as drinking a ‘cup’?

He has in mind it’s use in the Old Testament when God

said to Jeremiah ‘Take from my hand this cup filled with

the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I

send you drink it’ (25:15). Jesus knows that his death will be

the drinking of the cup of God’s wrath, the judgement that

each one of us deserves for the dishonourable way that we

have treated God. Although he understandably recoils

from it, he will take upon himself the holy hostility of God

against my sin!

This explains why, on the cross, Jesus cried out ‘My God, my

God, why have you forsaken me?’ (the words are even

recorded in the original Aramaic, direct from the lips of

Jesus). During those dreadful hours of darkness Jesus

experienced the full weight of our sin, and utters that cry

so that we might understand what is happening! He was

forsaken, so that through him we might be welcomed

forever; he was treated as the worst of sinners, so that

through him we might be forgiven and made righteous

forever! (see the Theology Corner on page 11).

In the centre pages we asked some church members for

their favourite hymn about the Cross. Here’s one that

rejoices in the good news of that Jesus ‘swap’, and why all

who experience it have no doubt that it was indeed Good


Behold the Man upon a cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished


Do join us for our services at St John’s this Easter, and may

you know the great goodness of our God!