I once had a professor tell me that the most powerful point in the story of Christianity is the empty tomb. I understand what he meant. There is so much possibility there. The road away from that stone can go almost anywhere. Christ, walking around in the world with a glorified body means we’re no longer bound to our basest instincts. God can raise us to the heights of our best desires. We have a future somewhere out ahead of us that is unambiguously good.
But if I had to isolate the most powerful point in Christianity’s story, I would pick a different spot: the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Christ was betrayed. It feels like the fulcrum on which the future of humanity is leveraged. In that moment Christ decides not only his next course of action but the depth of his confidence in the goodness of God. Hanging on the outcome of that decision is the manner of his death, the scope of his life and the future of mortality. It turns out the faith of Christ is deep enough to swallow humiliation, injustice and death. As he kneels, alone in the garden that overlooks the ancient City of God, that point is decided.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. I love that day. Not because Christ died. I love that he chose death. I love that confidence in the goodness of God drove him to believe God’s promise more than the visceral reality that confronted him.
His belief opens the door for me to believe. On Good Friday, he throws the door wide open.