Today is Friday 13th. A day filled with mild anxiety for some, and more serious concerns for others, given centuries’ old legends surrounding it.
The superstition about this date is believed to have originated from Friday being the day of Jesus’ death and 13 being the number of people (including his betrayer Judas) in the Upper Room the night before he was crucified. But oddly enough, it is Jesus’ cross and resurrection that actually liberates people from superstition rather than cripples them by it.
The main question is “Do things happen by chance”? and if they do then can we speak of somethings being ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’?
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes the author ponders this question and says
No person knows when their hour will come. As fish are caught in a cruel net or birds taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
In a fallen world, there appears to be both ‘good’ & ‘bad luck’. A sprinter might be brilliant, but because someone tumbles in-front of her, she trips over them and another athlete wins the gold medal, or a student might be hard up but on their way to college comes upon a £20 note that someone else has lost, and so has enough to buy their lunch that day!
For one person it’s ‘bad luck’ & yet for another it turns out to be ‘good.’
But for those with eyes of faith, Proverbs 16 says
The lot is cast into the lap. But its every decision is from the Lord.
While the rolling of the dice may seem altogether random, nothing is outside God’s sovereign control.
So back then to Jesus’ death:- As far as some people could see that was a purely unlucky random event. Jesus was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him. The disciples deserted him, Caiaphas questioned him, Pilate washed his hands of him and the soldiers crucified him.
Yet, after his resurrection, Peter proclaimed to the people
God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ
What seemed initially like ‘bad luck’ was actually part of God’s great purpose of bringing about peoples’ forgiveness of sins, so that not long after he was able to say
In God’s great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
So then, on this Friday the 13th, no need for crippling anxiety over what might be perceived as ‘bad luck’, because all who trust in Christ have an eternal perspective, and contentment that we are secure in the hollow of his outstretched clean hands.