Today, we recall Joseph’s words to his brothers who sold him into slavery, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen 50:20) Joseph notes that people may intend and commit evil, yet God is never out of control. That’s one of the reasons we call today “Good” Friday. Because while the crowds, Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod — and you and I — meant evil against Jesus, God meant this suffering and death for good, to bring about the salvation of many people.
Victory and celebration are right around the corner, but not without passing through the darkness. Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples, denied three times by another, and deserted by the rest. He was sped through an unjust trial, spat on, mocked, and beaten before they led him away to a torturous and excruciating death; Jesus died after six hours on a cross (roughly 9am—3pm). Today evil reached new heights, as a sinless man — the Author of Life, the very Son of God — was killed by the world he came to save. And as the world’s sin was placed on Jesus, he bore all the wrath of God, being somehow separated from his Father for the first time.
Never before was there (and never again will there be) a day marked by more evil, sadness, and suffering. Today we mourn our sin, its effects, and what Jesus endured to atone for it.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. -Book of Common Prayer
We will have service this evening; please use your best judgment about traveling to Ebenezer UMC for our 7 pm worship service. If there is any change to our schedule, we will let everyone know as quickly and efficiently as possible.