An Unlucky Day?
In case you haven’t noticed, today is Friday the 13th. Some believe it’s unlucky. I’m not one of them since I was born on a Friday the 13th! But lots of people do. In fact there is a medical term for fearing it: Paraskevidekatriaphobia. I’m glad this is a blog and not a podcast or I’d have to figure out how to pronounce that! In case you’re wondering, triskaidekaphobia is just the fear of the number thirteen.
Did you ever wonder why this seemingly random date is considered unlucky? Although there are many theories about its origin, the most prevalent one dates back to the Last Supper which was in the first century. This was the Passover meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was arrested, beaten, and crucified (Mt. 26:17–29, Mk. 14:12–25, Lk. 22:7–38 and Jn. 13:1–17:26). There were thirteen in attendance, including Judas who would betray and seemingly set Christ’s demise into motion. But was that actually a bad thing?
That our Lord was tortured and died horrifically were absolutely horrible. But His death, then subsequent resurrection, are the most significant events and the greatest sacrifice and gift that ever were or can be. Without them, all humanity would be hopelessly lost and eternally separated from God in hell. So how can we see the presence of thirteen men at the Last Supper as unlucky?
And it wasn’t Judas who began the chain of events that led to the salvation that can only be gained through the cross. It was God. In Genesis 3, the Almighty began to reveal His plan as part of the curse on the serpent who tempted Eve to sin: And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." (Gen 3:15 NAS) Not only is this the first prophecy of the virgin birth (as the man – not the woman – has the seed, also see Is 7:14), but it speaks of the suffering of the Messiah (bruised heel) and His ultimate triumph over Satan (bruised head). Time does not permit it, but I encourage you to check out Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to see how specifically the beatings, torture, and work accomplished by Christ on the cross were spelled out seven hundred years before Jesus came to earth.
God also told us ahead of time that the Messiah would be betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9/Jn 13:18), how much money the betrayer would receive, and what would happen to it and to him (Zech 11:12-13/Matt 27:3-10). So it wasn’t unlucky that Judas, one of the thirteen men at the Last Supper, was there. It was designed by the Almighty as part of the unfolding of His perfect plan.
The same principle is at work on our lives. Any time something bad, harmful, or hurtful happens to us or those we love – whether on Friday the 13th or any other day – our Heavenly Father is working bigger things in and through it which He promises are for our benefit (Rom 8:18,28; II Cor 4:16-18).
So, instead of being wary of this supposedly unlucky day, let’s embrace it as a remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross, and as evidence that God will work good in and through the tough things we face.
Just something that has brightened my day along the way!