Over the past week, a fellow blogger pastor and cartoonist at ASBO Jesus has been focusing on weakness. Weakness in people, weakness as strength when a bunch of weak people get together, the difference between outer strength and inner weakness.
Good Friday is all about weakness. In the midst of his deepest struggles, Paul is told, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) How is it possible that strength could come from weakness? In Luke 23 we read the story of Good Friday: a mock trial, a conviction, the execution of Jesus, and the burial in the tomb. What victory is there in these verses, in the account of a helpless savior suffering pain, indignity, mockery, torture and death? In truth, there is no triumph here.
How many times in our own lives have we felt the sting of injustice, the pain of death, the indignity of violence? In our world, we know that torture and violence are reality for many. All of us have known the death of a loved one. What could it mean to know that God knows that pain, that God has entered into the depth of our despair? As we wait on this dark night, we remember the apostles’ confusion, not knowing if or how their world would ever be right again. We remember those times in our own lives when we cannot see a way out of our own pain or suffering or loneliness. And we know that as we wait, the presence of God waits with us. We know that in our weakness, in God’s weakness, God gives us strength as God’s power was perfected in the weakness of God’s Son. The ultimate paradox, strength from weakness.
Take some time this evening, meditate on the words of Luke 23, and ask that God would enter with you to the depths of your own weakness and humanity. Know that God is even now already there, waiting.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. Luke 23:44-49