Yesterday, Good Friday, I was listening to the radio. Aretha Franklinís voice filled the car singing a sad song about a lover who was not loved in return. The lover sang about the bittersweet night before parting.
Here in the dark,
In these final hours,
I will lay down my heart,
Iíll feel the power,
But you wonít.
I suddenly thought of Jesus on the cross in his final hours. Godís heart, laid down for his people. Did Jesus feel like this?
I canít make you love me,
If you wonít.
You canít make your heart feel,
Something it wonít.
The aching that comes first in the song does seem to echo through the Old Testament. It speaks of his faithful love for his people and how they try to love him back but inevitably they just canít do it. Even when they remember God they just go through the motions and their hearts are not in it.
In Jesus final hours on the cross is he remembering how he came very close to his people Ė into their very arms. He laughed and cried with them. As he opens his heart and lays his himself down on the cross Ė he feels the power Ėbut they donít. They donít understand the depth of his love. They donít feel the power of his vulnerability among them. They barely even realize he is leaving.
In the morning Ė Jesus is gone. And for many that is the end of their story with Jesus. Good Friday was ďgood-byeĒ. But it doesn't have to end that way.