Thoughts on Good Friday, from nearly 400 years ago.

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I thought I would share a few thoughts about Good Friday today, as we reflect on the cross of Jesus, where our rescue was accomplished and our ransom was paid. John Donne is one of my favorite poets, and these particular poems are favorites of mine.

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward
John Donne

Let man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey:
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west
This day, when my soul’s form bends toward the east.
There I should see a sun, by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget;
But that Christ on this Cross, did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I’ almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees God’s face, that is self life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made his own lieutenant Nature shrink,
It made his footstool, crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands which span the pose,
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?
Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us, and to’our antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of his,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn,
By God, for his apparel, ragged, and torn?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnished thus
Half of that sacrifice, which ransomed us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
I turn my back to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.

Here is another that is fitting for today, as we reflect on the death of death:

Holy Sonnet #6
John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me;
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.


1 Corinthians 15:54-57: “‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May we never forget the point of Good Friday. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. We had no hope–no claim or right to eternal life–because we were dead in our sins. We had chosen to run our own lives. We had chosen our own way. We were Captives. Slaves. Prisoners. Dead. Enemies. We could not save ourselves. We would not save ourselves, because we liked our way of doing things, regardless of how it destroyed us. The only way for us to have eternal life was through Jesus’ perfect sacrificial death in our place, for our sins. The righteous wrath of God against sin had to be dealt with, and God chose to take care of it Himself. He sent His one and only Son to the cross because of His great love for us. He did it while we were His enemies! The very hands that shaped the universe were nailed to the cross so that we could be rescued from sin and death, once and for all. May we never lose sight of the amazing love and grace of God, which kept Him on the cross to finish His defeat of sin and death. There was no other way for us to be saved. There is no other way for us to be saved. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us and rescuing us!

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