At the center of a biblical worldview is a radical recognition: the most horrible thing that ever happened was the most beautiful thing that ever happened.
Consider the cross of Jesus Christ. Could it be possible for something to happen more terrible than this? Could any injustice be greater? Any loss more painful? Any suffering worse? The only man who ever lived a life that was perfect in every way possible, who gave his life for the sake of many, and who willingly suffered from birth to death in loyalty to his calling, was cruelly and publicly murdered in the most vicious of ways.
How could the Son of Man die? How could men capture and torture the Messiah? In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter provides an explanation filled with both horror and beauty:
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22–24)
The cross was not the end of the story! In God’s righteous and wise plan, this horrible moment was ordained to be the moment that would fix all the dark and disastrous things that sin had done to the world. This moment of death was, simultaneously, a moment of life. This moment of horror was the moment when the beauty of eternal hope was given. This moment of lawless injustice was at the same time a moment of amazing grace. The extreme physical and emotional pain Christ endured at that moment guaranteed that suffering would one day end, once and for all (Rev. 21:4).
Original Black Friday
Several years ago at this time on the calendar, while I was being bombarded with advertising for Black Friday sales, I was reminded of the original “Black Friday”—when there was darkness over the whole land (Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). Feeling inspired, I wrote this poetic meditation to help me focus my fickle heart on my Savior—and not believe the lie that the created world can satisfy my longing soul:
There was only one Black Friday.
It was not the day after Thanksgiving.
It was not a day when self-oriented consumers
and hated the other consumers who were
in their way.
No, all the action of the…