There’s a marine training facility called Parris Island. A young man signed up who was a bit out of step with the others. He was nice enough—but he just didn’t fit in. As a result he got picked on. A lot.
In his barracks there were guys who were particularly mean. One of them came up with an idea to drop a disarmed hand grenade on the floor pretending like it was about to go off. Everyone would be in on the joke and know it was disarmed—everyone except the new guy. They figure he’d freak out and totally embarrass himself.
So the next time they were all together someone out of view tossed in the disarmed grenade. “It’s a live grenade, it’s about to explode!”
But the young recruit, instead of running away, jumped on top of the grenade, hugged it to his stomach, and yelled, “Run for your lives! If you don’t you’ll be killed!”*
They all stood there, frozen in their own shame, marveling at what he was prepared to do for them without any regard for himself. What they thought would be that young man’s moment of great embarrassment and humiliation turned out to be a moment of great self-sacrifice and glory.
To me, that story sheds light on the meaning of Good Friday—except that for Jesus, the danger was real, and he knew it.
Christ went to the cross, in an act of great self-sacrifice… for you, and for me. As a prophecy says in Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…”
Today, give thanks for the Saviour who takes upon himself the punishment and disaster that you deserve, and in return, by virtue of your faith and trust in him, gives you the gift of eternity and a healed relationship with God.
Good Friday is “good” not because of what happened to Jesus, but because of what happened for you.
What many thought was a young man’s moment of great embarrassment and humiliation turned out to be a moment of great self-sacrifice and glory… for you.
Today, bring the cross into focus, and be thankful.
By Matthew Ruttan
–*The story in today’s “Up!” is told by Tony Campolo in Let Me Tell You A Story.
–A version of today’s “Up!” first appeared on March 30, 2018.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–“Up!” is published Monday-Friday and returns on April 13.