On one hill, Jesus declared the good news of the kingdom of God. He described what it looked like to live within that kingdom. He gave hope to the poor, hungry and mourning by telling them that they could find satisfaction in God’s kingdom. On that sun-swept hill along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount and filled his followers with the belief that things could change.
On another hill, it appeared that the kingdom of God had come crashing down before it was fully realized. The one who had so vividly described life within God’s kingdom, now had his life taken from him. God’s chosen one who had given hope to the huddled masses was hanging from a cross. On that darkened hill of Golgotha, Jesus gave up his life and his followers thought that everything had ended.
On first glance those two hills look like they couldn’t be any more different. The first hill is filled with so much hope and promise. The second hill is filled with so much doubt and despair.
Good Friday sits in the tension between those two hills. Even though the first hill looks like it’s filled with so much more hope and promise, because of Easter, we know that the second hill holds infinitely more hope and promise. It’s only through Jesus’ death upon the cross that our sins are cleansed and we are put back into a right relationship with God.
The hope and life that Jesus described on the first hill are only made possible through his death on the second hill.
So on Good Friday, as we reflect on the second hill, we need to remember everything that Jesus gave us through his death. We need to acknowledge that it was our sin that sent Jesus to the cross. Yet, because Jesus went to the cross, our sins are cleansed and we have the opportunity for a new life. Because of the second hill, we have the ability to live the life that Jesus described on the first hill.
Happy Good Friday. Remember the second hill so we can live the life of the first hill.