Eddie Mauro, a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, discussed Good Friday on his Facebook Live daily update on Friday.
Discussing Jesus’ crucifixion, he managed to turn the agony that Christ endured into a political attack.
“And we hear the story of the passion of Jesus today. The agony, the humiliation, the feeling of abandonment, how often our elected representatives through self-righteous policies created agony, humiliation and abandonment, the people of Iowa, of America, of the world,” Mauro said.
Jesus did suffer physical agony. He was scourged and nailed to a cross. While on the cross, he slowly asphyxiated as his body weight crushed his lungs. He had an unquenchable thirst.
He was humiliated, publicly beaten, stripped of his clothing, mocked, spat at, paraded through the streets, and made a spectacle when hung on the cross.
He didn’t feel abandoned; he was abandoned.
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” (Matthew 27:46, ESV).
Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1. At this moment, the communion that Jesus shared with God the Father throughout eternity was broken. God the Father metaphorically turns his back on his Son. Why? Because God is holy. Scripture says that when Jesus was on the cross for our sake, “he made him who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV).
At that moment, our sin was placed upon Jesus who was without sin. Isaiah prophesied this moment when he wrote, “All like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6, ESV).
Mauro’s comparison to what Jesus endured compared to the supposed agony, humiliation, and abandonment we endure through what he considers bad public policy is blasphemous.
What Mauro doesn’t seem to grasp as well, unlike Jesus, we are not innocent. In fact, it was our sin that put Jesus on the cross.
The late British pastor, author, and theologian John Stott made an astute observation about the cross of Christ.
“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us,” he said.
Who nailed Jesus to the cross? I did. You did. Eddie Mauro did.
The Apostle Paul explains.
“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who had faith in Jesus,” (Romans 3:22b-26, ESV).
God’s righteous standard must be met, and we can’t meet it. We can’t possibly be good enough. Our good works are nothing but filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6). Our sin, the bad things we do, separate us from God, (Isaiah 59:2).
The only thing we deserve is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23, ESV).
We don’t deserve God’s mercy. We don’t deserve his grace. We deserve to be the ones on the cross. We are not victims that can compare ourselves to Christ’s agony. We are the ones who put him there.
But God, in his loving-kindness, sent his only Son to take the death penalty that we deserved. He paid our penalty. Because of his great sacrifice, we can be saved. We can have eternal life. We can be with God forever. All we have to do is accept the gift God gives.
Mauro then compares Christ’s sacrifice with first responders, health care workers, and those who serve the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He sent his only begotten Son, the story goes, his Beloved, to become man and sacrifice his life for us. And we see that same sacrifice today in our first responders, and doctors and nurses and so many staff members at hospitals and clinics and nursing homes, and blood and plasma centers and our pharmacies and grocery stores and so much more. And that’s how much love there is. That’s how much forgiveness and mercy that is evident in our world. And that’s why today’s called Good Friday,” Mauro claimed.
As much respect as I have for our first responders, health care workers, and all who are considered essential during this COVID-19 pandemic, nothing they do compares to what Christ did on the cross.
Mauro cheapened the meaning of Good Friday to score political points. He would have been better off not saying anything at all.