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“Good” Friday

April 6, 2012

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

We call today “Good Friday,” but it was anything but “good” for Jesus’ followers.

For them, Sunday wasn’t coming. There wasn’t anything to look forward to. They didn’t know Jesus was coming back.

Hopelessness.
Grief.
Despair.

All too often we immediately jump ahead into the celebration of Easter. The phrase “Sunday’s coming!” is plastered all over Facebook and Twitter this morning. But we need to remember the pain the disciples felt as they huddled in a house together, doors locked, windows covered, fearing they would be killed for following a false prophet.

“All is lost.”
“Our lives are meaningless.”
“Where do we go from here?”
“Who am I apart from my master?”

My church, along with many others around the world, begins our Easter services tonight. It’s out of necessity, really. Without additional services we’d have nowhere to put our people! But I encourage you to take a moment to feel the weight of this day. The weight of the crucifixion of our master. Perhaps the word “execution” better conveys the severity of it.

This is the heaviness in which we find ourselves. Today is Friday. Just Friday. We are huddled together, fearing the worst.

There is no Easter.
No resurrection.
Not yet…

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