Christ the Redeemer statue at sunrise in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)
How Jesus’s Good Friday words call on us across the millennia.
he story told is that the sky grew unusually dark at midday. But then, this was like no other day, before or since. Atop Golgotha, Jesus of Nazareth (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, the placard declared), hung and nailed, had endured excruciating torment. The hours of agony played out against a background of insults (“the rulers scoffed at him . . . the soldiers also mocked him”), contempt (“those passing by reviled him”), and unseemly acts (“for my clothing they cast lots”).
His strength sapped, His spirit ebbed. But for divine intervention, there was only one natural conclusion to this necessary catastrophe.
The end was imminent. But the Scriptures were not yet satisfied. From Psalm 22 comes a forsaken cry that foretold this very moment, a lament projected through the centuries: “My heart has become like wax melting away inside my chest, my throat is dried up like baked clay, my tongue cleaves to my jaws.”
But another Psalm demands attention too, the 69th: “and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Someone performed the task — who, we are not told. An act of charity? Maybe. Likely. For others though — ghouls or obtuse spectators, or both — it was an opportunity to extend the unholy drama. A delay was urged: “Wait, let us see if Elijah will come to save him.”
Good Friday: What Jesus Christ Asks of Us Today | National Review