It is “Good Friday,” the blackest day on the Christian calendar and the unavoidable prelude to the brightest morning in human history. It is a day that many pastors dread for it is a day of bad news and no pastor likes to talk about bad news. Yet this particular Good Friday presents a unique opportunity for the preacher. The perfect sermon illustration for this day has dominated the news most of the week.
That news, which was starting to wind down a bit, crescendoed again yesterday as the apparent victim threatened litigation. I am of course talking about United flight 3411 and the forceful removal of passenger David Dao. The sermon illustration lies in applying the overused and trite question “What would Jesus do?’ to the situation. I almost shutter at the question as I have seen it so contorted as to justify the heinous and thrown about with so little thought as to have it robbed of all meaning. And yet, in this instance we can answer the question with a great deal of confidence for Jesus’ action on Good Friday tell us exactly what He would have done had He been on United 3411.
Had Jesus been on United 3411 he would have stepped up to the officers confronting Mr. Dao and said simply, “Leave the guy alone, I’ll get off the plane.”
I said in my Tuesday post on the matter that I thought there were jerks on all sides of the situation and I included passengers other than Mr. Dao. I remain stunned that people sat there and watched events unfold and their primary thought was to record the action and post it to the internet when there existed such a simple course of action to avoid the conflict and avoid the injury to Mr. Dao. They were aghast at the confrontation and horrified by the injury Mr. Dao suffered, but none of them were willing to give up their seat. Apparently their sympathy and concern only extended so far.
Christ, God Incarnate’s love for us has no such limit. His concern for us has no bounds. Hence when we stood confronted by our troubled circumstance with an unavoidable eternal consequence He stood up and said, “It’s OK, I’ll bear that consequence for them.” That’s why Jesus died on Good Friday – so we would not have to. The fact that all those passengers sat their and watched what happened happen just illustrates how deeply troubled our circumstance actually is.
So maybe, in the end, the news of Good Friday is not so bad after all. Yes, the news of Good Friday is the death of Christ, but that death is the consequence of our circumstance and therefore the greatest expression of love mankind has ever received.