An Eastern Legend tells us that once in a time there were three (3) trees in a forest. They were talking to each other, planing what they wanted to be in the future.
One of the trees said that, when it's grown up, it would like to be transformed into a beautiful palace. The other one said that, when it's grown up, it'd like to be a huge ship, to travel on the sea carrying kings and princes. The third tree said it wanted to stay in the forrest, always pointing to God, Creator of all things.
One day, a man came and cut the first tree. But, instead of this tree being used to build a palace, its wood was used in a construction of a stable for cattle, where Jesus was born.
The wood of the second tree that wanted to be a great ship, was used to build a little boat that, traveling on the sea of Galilee, it would carry Master Jesus who preached to the crowd.
Finally, the third tree, the one that would stand pointing to God, was converted into a cross where the Redeemer of the humanity was nailed into. Since then, that cross, instrument of opression, has been pointing to God's love for men.
- Eastern Legend
"Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to Your Son,
so that the Son may give glory to You.
For you gave Him authority over all mankind,
so that He might give eternal life to all those you gave Him.
And eternal life means to know You,
the only true God,
and to know Jesus Christ,
whom you sent.
I have shown Your glory on earth;
I have finished the work you gave me to do.
Father! Give me glory in Your presence now,
the same glory I had with you before the was made.
I have made You known to those
You gave me out of the world.
They belong to You,
and You gave them to me.
They have obeyed Your Word,
and now they know that everything
You gave me comes from You.
I gave them the message that You gave me,
and they received it;
they know that it is true that I came from You,
and they believe that You sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world
but for those you gave me,
for they belong to you.
All I have is Yours,
and all You have is mine,
and my glory is shown through them.
And now I'm coming to You;
I am no longer in the world,
but they are in the world.
Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of Your name,
the name you gave me,
so that they may be one
just as You and I are one.
While I was with them,
I kept them safe by the power of Your name,
the name You gave me.
I protected them,
and not one of them was lost,
except the man who was bound to be lost -
so that the Scripture might come true.
And now I am coming to You,
and I say these things in the world
so that they might have my joy
in their hearts in its fullness.
I gave them Your message,
and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world,
just as I do not belong to the world.
I do not ask You to take them out of the world,
but I do ask You to keep them safe from the Evil One.
Just as I do not belong to the world,
they do not belong to the world.
Dedicate them to Yourself
by means of the truth.
I sent them into the world,
just as You sent me into the world.
And for their sake I dedicate myself to You,
in order that they, too,
may be truly dedicated to You.
I pray not only for them,
but also for those who believe in me
because of their message.
I pray that they may all be one.
Father! May they be in us,
just as You are in me and I am in You.
May they be one,
so that the world will believe that you sent me.
I gave them the same glory You gave me,
so that they may be completly one,
just as You and I are one:
I in them and You in me,
so that they may be completly one,
in order that the world may know that You sent me
and that You love them as You love me.
Father! You have given them to me,
and I want them to be with me where I am,
so that they may see my glory,
the glory You gave me;
for you loved me before the world was made.
Righteous Father! The world does not know You,
but I know You,
and these know that You sent me.
I made You known to them,
and I will continue to do so,
in order that the love You have for me may be in them,
and so that I also may be in them."
- John 17
The Lord says,
"My servant will succeed in his task;
he will be highly honored.
Many people were shocked when they saw him;
he was so disfigured that he
hardly looked human.
But now many nations will marvel at him,
and kings will be speechless with amazement.
They will see and understand
something they had never known."
The people reply,
"Who would have believed what
we now report?
Who could have seen the Lord's hand in this?
It was the will of the Lord that his servant
grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.
He had no dignity or beauty
to make us take notice of him.
We despised him and rejected him<,
he endured suffering and pain.
No one would even look at him -
we ignored him as if he were nothing.
"But he endured the suffering that
should have been ours,
the pain that we should have borne.
All the while we thought that his suffering
was punishement sent by God.
But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishement he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received.
All of us were like sheep that were lost,
each of us going his own way.
But the Lord made punishement fall on him,
the punishement all of us deserved.
"He was treated harshly,
but endured it humbly;
he never said a word.
Like a Lamb about to be slaughtered,
like a sheep about to be sheared,
he never said a word.
He was arrested and sentenced
and led off to die,
and no one cared about his fate.
He was placed in a grave with evil men,
he was buried with the rich,
even though he had never commited a crime
or ever told a lie."
The Lord says,
"It was my will that he should suffer;
his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.
And so he will see his descendants;
he will live a long life,
and through him my purpose will succeed.
After a life of suffering,
he will agian have joy;
he will know that he did not suffer in vain.
My devoted servant,
with whom I am pleased,
will bear the punishement of many
and for his sake I will forgive them.
And so I will give him a place of honor,
a place among great and powerful men.
He willingly gave his life
and shared the fate of evil men.
He took the place of many sinners
and prayed that they might be forgiven."
- Isaiah 52.13-53.12
Blessed Good Friday!
"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."
- Luke 24.1-12 NIV
Give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
"His love endures forever."
Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
but He has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks,
for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118.1-2,15-24 NIV