Colossians 2:12-15 “When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.”
Holy Week brings with it a variety of emotions. Beginning Palm Sunday, with Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem, we soon see a sharp turn as the pharisees are angered and the joyful crowd soon turns to one of malice yelling, “Crucify him!” The highs of waving the palms and welcoming the Messiah soon turn to the lows of cynicism, doubt, and death. Despair leaks in as we hear of the warmth yet sadness of Jesus’ last supper and the washing of his disciples feet. The drama and pain of his betrayal and arrest settles deep into our souls as the brutal, heinous beating and killing occurs on the cross. The tears come, the weight of Good Friday rests upon our shoulders as we too are guilty of Jesus’ death.
Even in the midst, though, we hear the promise. We hear it on the cross as one man says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” and Jesus, in the midst of his own torment, replies, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) Today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. This is the promise we hear again in baptism. “Today you are mine.”
On Palm Sunday, just a few days ago, Malachi Jacob was baptized. His name, meaning “God’s messenger” was spoken as the Word and the water made him a member of the body of Christ. The promise that was brought to life that day on the cross was heard once again as Malachi Jacob’s name was spoken, being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus died on the cross so that the Old Adam and the Old Eve–our sinful selves–would die daily and rise to new life. Death and resurrection, death and resurrection. The old self dying in the waters of baptism and the new self rising to newness of life, being fully cleansed of our sin. We can only experience the joy of the resurrection by first going through the death on Good Friday. We can be grateful that we know that the story did not end on Good Friday. That is what, in fact, makes the Friday “Good”–that it was done out of extreme love and grace. This is the love and grace that is given to us through the cross and bestowed on us in baptism.
In our lives we go through series of Good Fridays and Easters–through sin & death and through joys & celebrations. We are drawn back continually to the One who has sealed our salvation, who has done it for us not because he had to, but because he wanted to, and who gives everlasting life to us all as a free gift. Good Friday and Easter is every day. Thanks be to God this Holy Week and Easter.