It boggled my church kids to find out Jesus was 30 years old when He started His ministry, and 33 when He died. I asked them, “How old are you? If you started your ministry now, how much can you do?” A lot, they answered.
I’m 32. It’ll be a more intense reflection next year, but it boggles my mind that Jesus was only a year older than me when He died. And that’s why, while everyone is remembering His death today (Good Friday), I’m not. I’m wondering about His 32nd year.
Jesus is in the middle of his ministry. He’s in the thick of it. He also has a year left. He’s got to know, right? Being God, Jesus had to know His time was short. The most intense kind of suffering is coming. Death is imminent. Did it spur Him on? Did He walk farther, teach longer, and healed more people? Did He embrace little children a little bit longer? Did His shoulders drop just a little bit lower every day? Did He look at His disciples with that much more compassion and silently begged them to get it together?
It’s like an icebreaker question. If you had a year left to live, what would you do?
I would probably be frozen in place, at least in the beginning. It’s my go-to response to overwhelming situations. To not do a thing because I’m too scared to do the wrong thing. I would overthink all my options and procrastinate on making a decision. Then, hopefully, I’ll do some good.
Someone asked how to explain Good Friday to children. Why do we call it “good”?
Good also meant holy back in the day, just as today, good means different things. Cupcakes are good means they’re delicious. A good friend may be kind or generous, but not delicious in the same way cupcakes are.
Today’s Good Friday, a day we remember the holy and sacred work Jesus did on the cross. His holy and sacred death. He became our holy and sacred sacrifice to end all sacrifices to reconcile us with God.
Could Jesus have come down, lived a quiet life, died, and resurrected without much notice and accomplish the same purpose?
I think so, don’t you? Without His 3 years of ministry, Jesus still would have been God on Earth. His death and resurrection would still have been a way to save us. But Jesus didn’t just have a good, holy, and sacred death. He lived a good, holy, and sacred life. And that kind of life can’t help but do good, holy, and sacred things. They can’t help but influence and change the world.
Perhaps, when Jesus was 32 years old and knew His time as man on Earth was limited, not much changed. He simply continued to do good, holy, and sacred work just as He has done from the very beginning. Just as He would have to do a year later.
And if you had a year left to live, maybe the question isn’t, “What would you do?” but “How much would you change the way you live?”