It is finished. Thank God it is done.
Friday is over and Sunday is coming. On this day, this Saturday in between the death and the resurrection – we wait.
So much time to think about what happened just yesterday. Good Friday. What was so good about Good Friday?
Truly, truthfully, the horror of yesterday, of Jesus on the cross, it sits in my soul, in my heart, in my mind. Why? Why would someone do that for me? Why did it have to be so horrible? I know what they did to Him, yet I keep myself from thinking about it. I know they beat Him so badly, I know they scorned Him so brutally, I know they left Him feeling so alone and forsaken. I keep my thoughts on other things because I can’t stand to know.
I ask myself, I cry out to God – What was so good about Good Friday? Why do they have to call that day – GOOD?
He answers me in the stillness, in the silence, in the horror of the cross…
Take a closer look. Let your eyes wander over the WHOLE scene. What do you see Anna?
I see a man on a cross, so hurt, so alone, so much pain.
You need to look at the others, Anna. There you will see the reason for the man on the cross.
I close my eyes to the man on the cross, not because I want to forget, but because my human eyes can only see pain. I need to look with my soul eyes.
A tiny flicker of a smile plays at the corner of my lips. It spreads, heart fills, eyes water.
People saved from sin and death.
There are so many in the scene at the cross. So much hope. So much love. So much salvation.
Two men on two other crosses. One on either side of Jesus. The three crosses themselves tell us the gospel story. Jesus hung between them. They had a choice, just as we have a choice. One man chose to rebuke Jesus, the other chose to believe in Him. Jesus promised fellowship with Him in paradise to the latter. (Luke 23:39-43)
A sign hung above Jesus’ head. The Roman ruler had them place it there. It spoke of the priest’s charge against Jesus. JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS is what it said. The priests wanted Pilate to change the sign to say that Jesus CLAIMED to be the King of the Jews. Pilate would not change it. (John 19:19-22) The gospel is for everyone, for the whole world, and can get into the soul of ANY man, woman or child.
A soldier stood at the foot of the cross at the moment of Jesus’ death. He heard Jesus’ cry as He breathed His last. This was not a normal death on a cross. On a cross people died with agony, exhaustion as they slipped into unconsciousness. Jesus died with a loud cry. This cry caused the soldier to believe. “Surely this man was the Son of God” is what the soldier said. (Mark 15:37-39) Even as Jesus took His last breath He was showing hope to others.
I close my eyes again, focused on the scene around Jesus on the cross. I close my eyes because I see Mary, His mother. I play it in my mind – over and over – a mother watching Her son die. This scene is too close to home. I close my eyes to see with my soul. And what I see is beautiful.
“When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)
The love of a son for His mother. Even as He hangs dying, He cares for her. Such beauty there.
And I see the good on the Friday. The way Jesus reached out to anyone, anytime, anywhere. EVEN ON THE CROSS.
I see that even in the most dire circumstances, Jesus offered salvation and the hope of eternity and freedom from sin. He offered love.
He never stopped being who He said He was. He never faltered. Any day was good when He was around.
Now Saturday has come. Souls are silent, anticipating, hoping, longing – is it really true? Will He really rise again? Did He mean what He said?
Are we really free?
I know the answer. My soul sings it in the stillness. Hope rises within.
I know what day comes after this day.