“He is risen!” But is that good news? How did that sound to Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate?
There is a legend that Pilate’s ghost still nervously washes its hands every Good Friday.
Why are you nervous… just in general?
Jesus said, “I am the truth.”
What if every time you deny truth, you deny Jesus?
And every time you betray truth, you betray Jesus?
Jesus said, “I am the life.”
Have you ever taken a life? What about your own life?
If he really is “the life,” then there is only “one life,” and it is not yours.
Jesus said, “God alone is Good.” And John said, “God is Love.”
Have you ever violated Love and realized that you were bad . . . that is, evil?
Even as a child I did things that made me feel like I had crucified the Good, that something in me had died, and that the Truth was calling my name. I once stumbled upon a mountain lion. I could hear it breathing. And I ran! It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being stalked by a lion. Shame is like being hunted by a lion.
David wrote, “Against you, you only, have I sinned.”
What if the lion is the Truth, the Life, and the Good in everyone you meet?
What if you have violated him, taken his life, crucified the Good, and made everything die… and now, “He is risen!”
In John 19, John tells us that these things “took place” that “Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced.’’”
It reminds me of an old movie, titled “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” The tagline on the movie poster read: “If you’re going to bury the truth, make sure it stays buried.” Well, that’s why I titled this week’s Easter message, “I Know What You Did Last Friday.”
In John 19, John is quoting Zechariah 12: “On that day… I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Who is “they,” and when is “that day?”
“They” obviously isn’t just a couple of Roman soldiers. All the debate about who killed Jesus is insanely stupid. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It wasn’t Romans, Jews, or nails that held Jesus to the tree; it was you. It was his love for you—for all of us. The Lord arranged for us to kill him… that we might all might look on him whom we have pierced.
“They” is us, but when is “that day”?
The phrase “on that day” appears 18 times in Zechariah 9 through 14, and what the Lord through Zechariah says will happen “on that day” (which can also be translated “at that day”) is utterly astounding—particularly when one realizes that John and Jesus speak as if “that day” happened last Friday: Good Friday.
Zechariah 9 through 13 read like a description of Holy Week on steroids, combined with Pentecost, the destruction of Jerusalem, the spread of the Gospel, and the inner workings of the human heart as it is conquered by Love. “On that day… when they look on me, on him, whom they have pierced… On that day, a fountain will be opened.” It must be a fountain of tears and blood, and the life is in the blood.
Zechariah 14 begins, “A day is coming,” but then reverts to “On (or at) that day.”
“On that day, there shall be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night.”
“On that day, the Lord will be one and his name one.”
“On that day,” a plague will “rot the flesh” of all who do not celebrate the feast of ingathering.”
“On that day,” everything in this “New Jerusalem” will be holy.
And, “On that day, there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord.”
How could one day be “that day,” and how could it be like the worst day and the best day? How could it be so evil and so good all at once?
Well, think about last Friday: Was it the worst day…or the best day; was it evil or good?
Maybe that day was Judgment Day. Maybe God is one, and we are two.
Maybe that tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Maybe that tree was the Tree of Life.
If you took the Life of the Good (God alone is Good) from that tree, that would be evil, and you would know evil.
If you received the Life of the Good from that tree, that would be Grace, and you would know the Good and the Life—for Life is a communion of Grace.
Suppose God in Flesh said, “I give you my body and blood,” before you took his “body and blood.” Wouldn’t that be “fore-giveness”? And wouldn’t knowledge of forgiveness—or being known by forgiveness—change everything? For shaping a human heart, nothing is as powerful as forgiveness.
God’s Judgment is Grace. We don’t change God’s Judgment; God’s Judgment changes us.
God’s Judgment is to make us in his own image; he accomplishes that with his Word.
God’s Judgment is eternal, but it is revealed on a day at the end of time that has invaded our time at the tree in the garden—the tree that we now call the cross.
So, when did you pierce him? Wasn’t it the moment you first betrayed the Truth, consumed the Good, took the Life, and called it your own?
When did humanity first pierce him? The Revelation claims that the lamb was slain from the foundation of the world… and that the Lamb is the Lion.
No wonder we are nervous: We have chosen evil, and now we are being hunted by the Good, who is the Lion, and is always “at hand.”
There is a voice that tells you to run—it is the voice of the evil one.
And there is a voice that calls your name—it is the Lion.
Stop. Let him catch you; look upon the one whom you have pierced and let him speak:
“I know what you did last Friday; but you do not know what I did last Friday.
What I did last Friday is the revelation of who I am.
Although you take my Life, I constantly give my Life; I am Love.
When you know this—when you know me—you will constantly give your life and find your life and that is Life; I am the Life you will live.
And you will know me, for I know you; I am your good judgment; I am your free will; I am your Creator.”