The weight of Good Friday, for a Christian, is easily discovered.
Not in its entirety, of course. God spared us that reality and laid it on the shoulders of the one who could save us from it.
But even still, while we now live our lives in the grace and freedom of His mercy…we needn’t uncover many layers to find the harshness of that day.
I imagine us putting aside our regular lives on Good Friday, walking deliberately over to the phenomena of the crucifixion, and carefully – hesitantly – turning the page to reveal the dark, bitter, painful day of Christ’s death.
The sky is streaked with dark clouds and turmoil as the atmosphere grapples with the injustice.
The soldiers find their worst selves heeding the order to crucify this man, their own evil and sin driving each act of torture en route to Golgatha and then driving the nails through his hands and feet.
The people are restless. The mobs grow quickly and watch as their own pride and greed are paid for by a man whose known neither.
But they don’t understand.
The earth-shattering events of the day tear the wall between creator and created in half.
No more division.
The ground-shaking phenomena bring alive the dead and tear open the heavens to reveal to the people: everything is different now.
The pages close and we look around. It’s springtime and sunny and the dandelions pepper the grass. We have responsibilities and to-do lists and plans for the coming days.
But we need only look inside to see the transgressions that drove the events of that day. We can easily find our offenses and the crimes that are punishable by death.
Rejecting our God.
Hating our neighbors.
Putting self above all at all costs.
Inner desires we’ve learned to suppress at least part of the time.
But we are guilty.
And now it’s Saturday. Easter egg hunts and shopping for groceries. Clean the house in anticipation of everyone gathering together to celebrate the triumph revealed in the early morning light.
Yet I think of the disciples. The drama of Friday is moving, but it’s the emptiness of Saturday I can relate to.
How they must have been at a loss. What hopelessness must have filled their day. To wake up the next morning not only facing the truth of one’s own cowardliness – running and hiding while your friend and teacher was dragged away…. But also the stark, harsh reality that He is dead. Gone. You even heard him say “It is finished.” This is all over. The ministry has ended.
This is all over. The ministry has ended.
What have the last few years even been for?
Emptiness. Hopelessness. Are there better words?
Did they even feel the anguish or did they remain in shock much of that second day? Could they process what had happened? Did their sorrow find a voice or could they even face the facts?
Clearly, it was over.
Certainly I’ve never experienced the trauma of a day like Good Friday. But I’ve been helpless. I’ve felt empty. I can relate to waking up and not knowing what could possibly fix the circumstances I find myself in. I’ve stared up at the ceiling at a loss and I’ve avoided the eyes of my neighbors because I couldn’t find the words.
I understand Saturday.
It’s a long day of waiting and we’ve all had those.
Tomorrow will be a day of victorious joy and relief. We will sing hallelujahs and take pictures of smiles and bright colored dresses and find another excuse to eat candy and rest in God’s goodness.
But today is a long day even knowing how the story ends.
I’m so glad I know how the story ends.