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The Villain on Good Friday: It's Us

Who are the real villains on Good Friday (or the story of Jesus' death)? It's kind of like the kid's TV show Scooby-Doo—that lovable morning cartoon about Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and their dog, Scooby-Doo. "The Gang," as they were called, were always getting themselves into trouble here or there—getting robbed, scared, lost. In each adventure, their task remained the same: discover and catch the villain. Whether the villain was a ghost, a witch, or any other ghoul, every episode would end the same—the Gang would catch the villain, and in every single episode, the villain turned out to be a person you'd never expect. We'd always assume the villain would be that really mean tour guide, or the obsessive park ranger, or the mean gasoline attendant from the beginning of the episode. But as the Gang ripped off the mask of the villain, it was always quite the surprise. The villain was always the really nice janitor, the sweet teacher, or the seemingly "good guy."

Good Friday is also like a children's book titled The Monster at the End of This Book. The story is simple—page by page, furry old Grover, scared as could be, pleads with the young reader before him not to turn to the next page because, as the title aptly claims, there will be a monster at the end of the book. Grover worries whether anyone will follow his timely advice. The reader, of course, never does. Then we soon come to the end of the book and discover who the monster is—it's Grover. He's the monster at the end of the book.

Grover and Scooby-Doo teach us precisely what Christianity has been trying to teach us about Good Friday: the villain and the monster aren't who we thought they were. In the Gospel stories, everyone fails; everyone sins against Christ—even the best disciples, even the "good guys." In the end, the villain is us.

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