Now comes the worst (and best) of the Christian story. Jesus, son of God, sent into the world to offer his life as an offering for the Sin of the world willingly goes to the cross to die. There are many things about Mel Gibson's "Passion" that were over done and there is something unhealthily disturbing about the brutality of his presentation. However, at a critical moment in the film he does get something right. When the time of the crucifixion arrives, Jesus lays himself down on the cross. Whether it is historically accurate or not does not matter. It IS theologically accurate. No one takes Jesus life. Jesus is not a martyr, tragically killed at the prime of life. Jesus willingly lays down his life for ours.
I remember it being explained this way when I was a young Christian. A man is brought to a Village Justice for an excessive speeding ticket. He and the Justice are life long and very good friends. At the trial the entire courtroom watches to see what the Justice will do to help the plight of his friend. People watch in amazement when the Justice levies the highest possible fine and penalty on his friend. Then the Justice stands, takes off his robe, walks to the Bailiff and pays the fine. That is Good Friday. Every human faces the stiffest penalty possible -- this penalty is the consequence of God's amazing love. God takes off his Robe (see Philippians 2), and, in the person of God's only begotten son, Jesus of Nazareth, takes our place at the execution -- pays our penalty.
God's Friday is the day redemption becomes the norm and becomes possible for any and all of us. All we need to do is embrace for ourselves what God has done for the whole world.
Amazing Love, indeed.