Excerpt from – The Contemplative Life
By Joel Goldsmith
Good Friday: The Crucifixion of Personal Sense
Another holy day of the Easter week is Good Friday. Spiritually speaking, we do not celebrate the crucifixion of the physical form of Jesus. The lesson for us in the crucifixion of Jesus and in his resurrection on the third day is to show us the way to find life eternal. That way, the Master clearly revealed, is by means of the death of personal sense. To be resurrected from the tomb, we must die to our personal sense of life, because our personal sense of life is a tomb in which we lie buried. We must die to the belief that of our own limited selves we are something, that we have lives of our own, a mind, a soul, a way, and a will of our own. We are to die to the belief that we have possessions of our own, or any virtue, any life, any being, any harmony, or any success of our own.
Good Friday is a day in which we should contemplate and meditate upon the inner meaning of crucifixion. By going back to the Gospels, looking upon the Master as a symbol, a way shower, and reconstructing in our thought his life, ministry, crucifixion, and his resurrection, we can learn how he brought about the death of personal sense, how he avoided being overwhelmed by his problems, even when he had the serious problem of being faced with betrayal and death, and how, by refusing to consider his personal afflictions as problems, he was able to rise above all material sense in the glorious affirmation made when he stood before Pilate: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” To him, neither life nor death was a problem.
When Jesus seemed to be in lack at the well of Samaria, and the disciples were concerned with bringing him meat, we note that he says, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of”, and to the woman at the well, “Who so ever drinketh of this water shall thrist again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
As we ponder these statements, as well as all the other teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, we come to the realization that what this man is saying in substance is, “I have nothing, but I have everything. I have no where to lay my head, but I have food with which to feed five thousand and twelve baskets full left over.” He had meat the world knew not of; he had water that sprang up into life eternal.
This man is a monumental figure. He really had everything: He had God, the Father within, and because he had God, he could share infinity with everyone who lacked, whether it was water or wine, bread or meat, or at the final breakfast, fish. It made no difference what it was: he had it to share, yet he always reminded us that of his own self he could do nothing: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. …Why callest thou me good?”
There we see the principle of Good Friday, the principle of the crucifixion of personal sense, a crucifixion of the belief that we of ourselves have qualities of good or quantities of good. But with that crucifixion, comes the resurrection in the realization, “I am nothing, but I can give you all.” Why? Because “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
Instead of thinking of Good Friday as another holy day to be commemorated, what we should realize is that here is a day for the contemplation of another spiritual principle of life: the principle of self-abnegation, in which, when we have brought to light the nothingness of our human selfhood, then is revealed the allness, immortality, and eternality of our being because I and the Father are one, and all that the Father has is mine.