We hear often that phrase the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter, the really important thing, the central point, the part around which everything else revolves. The crux of the matter, that phrase so often heard takes its name from the Latin for cross, the cross on which Jesus died. The crux of the matter, the crux of the matter when it comes to God, the crux of the matter when it comes to salvation, the crux of the matter, the most important thing in not just our faith but in all living history is the cross of Jesus Christ. Today, on this harrowing day, we have reached the crux of the matter.
All of scripture, all of history points to the cross, revolves around the cross and is defined by the cross. In the beginning we hear how humanity fell into sin. Even at beginning we hear how the Son of Eve would crush the head of the serpent one day. Later in Genesis we hear how Abraham takes His son to Mount Moriah, later the site of Jerusalem, to be sacrificed, only to be stopped at the last minute. At that same space, thousands of years later, God offered His Son to be sacrificed yet this time no one stops the knife from falling. At the Passover an unblemished lamb’s blood saves the people from the angel of death in the same way our pascal lamb, Jesus, saves us from death. Here is the branch of Jesse, continuing the kingship of David through Jesus promised in Isaiah. In psalm 22 we hear the psalmist describe Jesus’ death in great detail as it begins with ‘My God, My God why have you forsaken Me’, in our reading from Isaiah 53 today we hear how the man of sorrows must die for our sins. Ezekiel points to the ressurection of the dead in his vision of a valley of bones, Daniel speaks of the Son of Man coming before the throne of the Father, Zechariah prophesying to Jesus’ betrayal for 30 silver coins and John the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord. All of scripture, all of history meets at the crux of the matter, at the cross.
Jesus’ battered, broken body, the Son of God, hung naked, degraded, dying. The sinless Man the Man of sorrows writhes in agony against His cruel wounds. Here the Man who created humanity, is executed by the humanity He created. Sin has always been seeking to usurp God. On Good Friday, human sin finds its ultimate expression as humanity stages a coup against the God of the Universe, executing the Son. The crux of the matter, the pivot of history, on which all else hangs, is Jesus, broken, battered and bleeding dying on a cross amid the dust of Judea for the sins of the world.
The crux of the matter is before us this day. On Good Friday we are left as witnesses to the horror of the cost to save humanity. On Good Friday, undeserved, our sins are washed away. On Good Friday, death’s defeat is set in motion. On Good Friday, the ultimate sacrifice is paid. On Good Friday, the centre of history, there can only be silence, with tears of horror and thanks mixed in equal measure as we stand as disciples of Christ alongside all the disciples of Christ through the ages at the foot of the precious cross.