Throughout the long, cold, spring night, Jesus had been paraded from one corner of the city to another to endure half-hearted questioning from politicians and angry tirades from the religious leaders who were supposed to be shepherding Israel. Soldiers mocked, beat, and spit on him. The crowds that mere days before had shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!” now cried “Crucify! Crucify!”
And where were his friends? Where were the men and women who’d followed him so closely for three years? The disciples who’d sat at his feet, clung to his every word, walked hundreds of miles at his side? They were nowhere to be found. Only Peter had dared come close…yet before the pink rays of the morning sun had risen above the Jordan valley, even Peter had angrily denied him...not once, but three times.
And so here Jesus stood, battered, bruised, alone in an angry sea of voices that wanted him dead.
And here we sit today, feeling alone; feeling, perhaps, emotionally battered, psychologically bruised, from the isolation we’ve had to endure these past weeks.
How quickly we want to shake off the suggestion that our isolation is anything like his. But maybe it’s more similar than we imagine. And maybe there’s more that will come from this time than anything we could hope for.
On this day ironically called “Good Friday,” we have hope only because we know what happens next; we know about the empty tomb and Jesus risen and the celebration that that will bring. But that first Friday seemed anything but good, and today for us seems empty of anything good—and yet….
There can be no resurrection without death. So today, I wonder: what needs to die in order for you to see resurrection? What death today will God use to bring you into new life on the other side of the empty tomb?
Sit with that question today, and gaze on the vision of Jesus suffering and dying to bring you life.