Today we're borrowing a post from Bo Stern, who wrote the story of The Cross from Mary's perspective. We think this haunting, beautiful description perfectly describes all that Good Friday should be and all that should be remembered. Enjoy...
She woke up and rubbed her weary eyes, trying to wish the memories away.
He was gone.. Gone in the worst sort of way. Gone, not in a blaze of glory but in endless hours of agony. Not with a shout of victory, but with an anguished cry to His Father.
Many were incredulous that he was really dead. Some couldn’t believe and thought perhaps the whole thing was staged. She gave a bitter laugh, and looked down at her stained hands. They could ask her and she would tell them. Oh, would she tell them! Her eyes had seen His body, destroyed by Roman guards with nothing better to do. Her fingers had helped to tend him after it was finished, and she remembered being so gentle handling his flesh-torn-from-bone. She knew being careful was silly; knew He was no longer there. But she longed to somehow surround his broken body not just in cloth, but in tenderness and love. She wondered if maybe she worked with extra affection, it might retroactively cut through the pain of His past twelve hours. Though it seemed an impossible idea, she hoped to care for to Him in death the way that He had cared for her in life. His outrageous love had worked backwards in her life. It soothed old wounds and rearranged painful memories and softened hardened places in her heart.
She closed her eyes tight again at the memories that careened through her mind; weak and weary from a sleepless night. A walk might help. But how would it help? It would feel like a search for Him and she knew He would not be found.
He had said it Himself. In fact, she had jumped at the sound of His voice as it tumbled out through His bloody lips with surprising force. Finished. He said it. She heard it. And He had sounded so angry – like He was done with this world that had treated Him so viciously.
His words came on the heels of the darkest three hours she had ever lived through. People say the weather is always crazy this time of year, but this was not ordinary cloud-cover in the middle of the day. It was dark. Pitch black. Clearly, the sun couldn’t bear to watch the injustice taking place on that wicked hill and she was somehow comforted knowing that even nature was on her side in loving Him. It was at that moment that she stopped praying for deliverance and started praying for mercy. “Please,” she wept into the darkness, hoping to be heard by a God who had never seemed more invisible, “If You will not set Him free, please let Him die.” She must have said broken pieces of that sentence a million times until she finally heard His words.
It is finished.
A stunned hush had swept over the crowd. No one knew what to say or do. This rabid mob had been hungry for His death for hours, chanting and cheering and at one point she felt that if they could, they would lap up His blood in their hate-fueled insanity. And now that the deed was done they were…silent? No raised fists? No victory lap? No laurel wreath to drape over these small-minded “winners”? She glanced surreptitiously at the chief tormentors and thought she saw something that looked like confusion, maybe tinged with sorrow, or maybe she was just seeing through her own heart. But one thing was certain: the glee was gone. Jesus was finished, yes, but so were they.
We know this leaves the story hanging, but that's exactly what Good Friday did, in essence: it was a cliff-hanger. For 48 hours, we were finished, without hope. That's what makes the coming victory so sweet on Resurrection Day.
If you're wanting more of an audio/visual take on Good Friday, Westside Church did just that on Wednesday, by providing a service focusing wholly on The Cross. If you'd like to watch that, click here.
We'll be back tomorrow to look at The Tomb: Dealing with Dead Dreams.
Bo Stern is a main stage and workshop speaker at The Well Conference 2015, and a speaking pastor at Westside Church in Bend, OR. Bo realizes life is full of fierce and unexpected battles. When her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness, she knew she had found her Goliath. With winsome sincerity, Bo points to the battle plans available to us in Scripture and to our God who brings beauty from the struggles we face.