Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday, Terri Schiavo & Jetseta Gage

Today is Good Friday when Christians remember the execution of Jesus Christ with permission from the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate found him innocent of the charge of sedition but, for political reasons, allowed him to be crucified under threat of a riot led by members of the Jewish high council (Sanhedrin) in Jerusalem.
Image hosted by "Crucifixion" by Giotto (click to enlarge)
Most people in Jerusalem that day (with more than 10 times the normal population gathered for the celebration of Passover) undoubtedly felt that Jesus' death was unjust and unfair. But the Jewish leaders had a point. They had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy for having claimed to be equal to God. In one sense they were right to make this charge. The only way they could have been wrong was if Jesus was equal to God. Easter morning proved them wrong.

Jesus' crucifixion proved the limitation of human justice. Both Rome and the Jewish leaders got the law wrong or else ignored it and twisted it around for some other purpose.

Things have not changed since that first Good Friday.

Today we have once again discovered, in the starving of Terri Schiavo, the limitation of human justice. It appears to me that both federal and state courts have, this past week, either got the law wrong or else ignored it and twisted it around for some other purpose.

Jesus was not the first innocent person to be "legally" killed and Terri Schiavo will not be the last.

For Jesus, we have the upcoming celebration of the good news of his resurrection from the dead.

For Terri, we have the upcoming celebration of the good news of his resurrection from the dead.

I pray that this good news will bring some measure of comfort to Terri's family and friends. It does not assuage my anger and disappointment in the circumstances surrounding her impending death, but it does bring me some measure of comfort and peace knowing that God is just in a way that we can never be; knowing that Jesus' death has brought forgiveness, salvation and eternal, resurrection life to those who receive it by faith; even Terri; even me; even you.

Today we mark the death of still another innocent life. The body of 10-year old Jetseta Gage was found today near her home in Iowa. It is suspected that a family friend, a convicted sex offender, took her from her home in plain view of her family. What happened between then and the discovery of her body can only be imagined...if we even dare to imagine.
Image hosted by
Because of the first Good Friday...and because of Easter...I have hope for Jetseta and for Terri. Their innocence will be vindicated and, with God, they will rediscover the love and (even greater) life that others have denied them here.

The Bible tells us that Jesus took the pain and suffering upon himself that we deserved. No doubt, members of Terri's family and Jetseta's family would have done the same for the one they love if they had been given the chance.

That is how much Jesus loves us. That is how much God loves you.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
When my oldest daughter was around the same age as Jetseta, she memorized this verse but unknowingly switched one word for another. In her version the verse read: "shall not perish, but have everliving life." It may not be technically correct, but I like my daughter's version the best.