April 10, 2019
I respect the feelings of people who choose not to attend a Good Friday Service. It is an experience in darkness that makes us uncomfortable. While Jesus’ followers know the Story does not end there, it is still difficult to consider what actually took place. The Roman crucifixion process was more brutal than one can imagine. For a criminal it was horrific and for an innocent person unthinkable.
The Gospel writers include various details of the event. Taken together, we have a vivid picture of what happened, including the words of Jesus and other people who were there. It is a scene of humility and submission, of injustice and forgiveness. The brief words spoken by Jesus ring through eternity. A curtain barrier between man and God at the worship center is torn apart. Even a Roman official declares Who Jesus is!
When the day is over, darkness seems to prevail. Jesus’ dead body is placed in a tomb. His companions go fearfully into hiding. Women who believed Him prepare to do burial honors. The only evidence of resurrection seems to be in Matthew’s record of people coming out of their graves and, after Jesus’ resurrection, going into Jerusalem.
So what is the value of subjecting ourselves to this darkness when we know the brightness of Resurrection Morning? Perhaps it is the contrast that we need – the darker the night, the brighter seems the morning light. During our life experience, we find value in remembering difficult times. It helps us know that trials are temporary and often valuable in making us who we are.
The story of the death of Jesus affirms our trust in the Bible. Reading Isaiah 53, written hundreds of years before Jesus came to Planet Earth, feels like reading a description of the crucifixion weekend. Fulfilled prophecy gives us confidence that the Bible is trustworthy.
When we realize the cost of a gift given to us, we appreciate it more. Certainly, this is true when we contemplate what Jesus endured on that first Good Friday. I would not want to experience Good Friday without the assurance that Jesus is alive.
Pastor Bill Ehmann