The set-up for the good news is always the same.
There’s coercion, envy, false accusations, an artificially whipped-up mob, a person turned into a scapegoat, and a trial without representation, on trumped-up charges, geared toward a predetermined outcome.
Then there’s execution by a regime a downhill slide from a once-great republic, with once-great ideals, that has become inherently monarchal, brutal, and undemocratic.
There are manipulations, machinations, and deceitful dealings by people who care more about power and religion than relationship with the people they are claiming to serve.
And then, at the end of twelve hours, it’s supposed to be all over.
But then, a radical claim that’s never again been claimed by anyone else since that time in the history of the world, is made three days later. The scapegoat is said to be alive, walking around, not seeking vengeance, or destroying those who destroyed Him. Instead, He’s talking about peace, forgiveness, and preparing His bewildered and scared followers for even greater things to come.
And then, body and all, He disappears; leaving behind a world filled with followers, disbelievers, empires ruled by men who seek power and recognition above all else, and leaders who seek power and religion more than relationship.
Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is the most powerful story told in human history.
There are many reasons for its power, but at the bottom of it, is the radical idea that a man can be killed for saying all the things out loud that people think in their hearts about how the world—and our relationships should be—and then can be filled again with new life, and then leave the Earth, body, and soul, of His own volition.
This is a story that many, many people reject. This is a story that many, many people find too unbelievable to be believed. This is a story that many, many people have argued with, fought against, or sought to co-opt for centuries.
But it’s a story that won’t go away. Because religious ideas come and go, but religious stories endure.
And today, on Good Friday in the Christian world, Believers in the power and message behind, underneath, and through that story, would do well to take some time to meditate on what that story really means around their worldview, their decisions, and their lives.
I know that I will.