We are living in a broken world but I see the miraculous and the beautiful and the hopeful every single day. The stark contrast between brokenness and miraculous/beautiful/hopeful is as great as the contrast between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The pain of Good Friday and the elation of Easter Sunday. Just 3 days, but worlds apart.
During Holy Week it is an unwritten rule that we (my family) watch at least one movie on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Is it just me, or do you catch yourself wanting to change the story? It is LITERALLY the greatest story ever told, but I sit on the edge of my seat, palms sweating, biting my fingernails just hoping that the story changes this time. Someone please “save” my savior from the horrible things that I know are about to happen to Him. I have created lots of alternate plot twists. Just this once could Judas not betray Jesus? While on trial, could the high priest just say, “Yes! I believe you are the Messiah! Case closed!”? Could Peter NOT deny Jesus 3 times before the rooster crows? At the very LEAST could Pontius Pilate just LISTEN to his wife when she tells him that Jesus is an innocent man? How about at the Passover feast, the crowd chooses to crucify Barabbas and LET MY JESUS GO!? Can justice please be served this time?
I can not suffer again through (puhleez- how can I even fathom my own suffering as these events unfold) watching this PERFECT man be punished for “no good reason”( it’s actually the best reason in the history of forever). I know what is about to happen. I have wrapped my brain around the significance of this single most important event in ALL OF history. I understand that we have to get through the pain of Good Friday in order to celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday, but I still can’t handle this part of the story. The mocking, slapping, beating, suffering, falling down repeatedly under the weight of the cross — of this sinless man on the way to die a death only intended for the worst criminals is just SO WRONG.
Then Christ arrives on calvary. The pain, exhaustion, hunger, thirst, the sting of the wounds from his crown of thorns. As if He hasn’t already suffered enough, we all know what happens next. I can not bear to see him nailed to the cross. Does your heart break into pieces when you see the stakes driven through his hands and feet? Do you ache for Mary? Do you get angry with God? When Jesus cries out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”, do you feel that you are there with your fists raised to the heavens with that same question? My God, my God why have you forsaken Him? Why are you doing this to your only son? Why all of the suffering? YOU can save him from this!
Before He breathed His last breath on the cross, he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. At this point I can breathe again. I can stop negotiating with God to save the one who died for me. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Resurrection day is right around the corner!
Can you believe that I actually wanted to change the story? The crucifixion is so hard. But, can you imagine if there was no Easter? No third day? No empty tomb? The pivotal moment in human history around which even our entire concept of tracking time is constructed- thank you God for pushing us through Good Friday to get us to Easter. Furthermore, thank you God that your plans are always better than mine! Each time I pray for a plot twist, please just shake your head and continue with your own script. Your ways are always greater than mine.
Continue to linger on this – that moment when He BECAME sin on the cross to die for our sins. It is fitting that the earth shook! That moment when He paid a debt He didn’t owe. That moment when we were purchased by His blood. If you have only celebrated Easter without observing Good Friday, where is the joy? In just 3 days we go from hurting to healed, lost to found, judged to accepted, rejected to loved, powerless to powerful, unworthy to loved, suffering to victorious, hopeless to hopeful, oppressed to inspired and most importantly, from death to eternal life.
Be blessed today.