Good Friday is the sixth day of Holy Week. After Jesus’ betrayal in the garden, he is dragged before a Jewish tribunal led by the high priest, Caiaphas. They place him before Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, to pursue a death sentence. After Pilate’s questioning, Jesus is sent on to Herod, who then sends him back to Pilate. Having declared that his kingdom is “not of this world,” Jesus is beaten, scourged, rejected by the crowd that welcomed him on Palm Sunday morning, and finally sentenced to the excruciating torture of crucifixion. The way of suffering (via dolorosa) for Jesus begins, and 6 hours on a cross yield horrible pain, darkness, a criminal’s forgiveness, and a torn temple curtain. For the disciples, the light of the world they knew has gone completely black.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS.’”
Enter the Cross.
ENTER THE DARKNESS
To Follow Jesus.
Are you walking by sight or walking by faith in the Son of God?
Jesus’ love for his people, his miraculous ministry, and his prophetic posture have all leaned toward this one fateful day – the day of his crucifixion. The historical record simply states these facts about the moment Jesus fully becomes the “suffering servant” that Isaiah 52-53 describes: “It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS’”
(Mark 15: 25-26).
There is a timeless phrase that is meant to inspire hope and courage in us when we are facing a difficult time. We say, “I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” We happily, when in darkness, move toward the light.
Darkness can mean confinement, disorientation, danger, and endings. Conversely, light means freedom, clarity, safety, and new beginnings.
But Jesus has modeled for us that sometimes our best choice is to follow him into the dark places of our lives. We want to cut and run thinking there can be no good in facing our pain or entering a season where our ability to see what’s ahead is diminished. Yet the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 5:7 are inspired by what he saw Jesus do, and followed as his own life mandate: “For we live by faith, and not by sight.” This journey will always be a walk by faith – confidence in that for which we hope, and assurance about the things we cannot see (Heb. 11:1).
As Jesus is beaten, cajoled, and humiliated through the streets of his beloved Jerusalem, he ends up with nails through his hands and feet, raised to the sky for all to see suffer. He could have avoided this with the turn of a phrase, or a confession of insanity. Instead, he knew that darkness is where death lives, and instead of running away from it, he fearlessly walked right into its waiting arms.
For Good Friday.
My Lord, to think that you would enter darkness in order to fill it with light gives me hope. In my own darkness, I choose to find your light shining – and to carry it wherever you want me to.
For Your Easter Reflection.
Is there a world of darkness that Jesus is inviting you to shine his light within?
Taken from Rise: An Eight Day Easter Devotional by Vineyard USA (vineyardresources.org)