… I am sure on that first Good Friday, that the first followers of Jesus would have called it anything but Good. That first Good Friday would have been an extremely long, tough, discouraging, dark day.You see these first followers who had followed Jesus for three years and had had such hope, such confidence and such anticipation of the exciting future that Jesus would bring to their world and to their individual lives. And yet on that Friday almost 2000 years ago they saw their dreams and hopes dashed. You see they hadn’t read the rest of the story, they didn’t know how this exciting historic story was going to unfold.
All they knew was this Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had learned to trust, was now hanging before their eyes … dead on a cross. What must have been going through their minds?
You see even as we read this painful description found in the Bible in the 19th Chapter of John, it is only natural to quickly want to turn to the 20th Chapter and read about the victory that came on Sunday. But for just a moment on this Good Friday, let’s imagine what it would have been like for the first believers in Christ to see the one whom they had come to believe was the Son of God, the Messiah, was now hanging on the cross seemingly defeated.
What feelings must have been rushing through their hearts? They must have been experiencing feelings of discouragement, defeat, and hopelessness? You see … its Friday and although Sunday is coming, they didn’t yet know it!
Isn’t that the way it is in our lives sometimes?
We experience a discouraging setback at work… or possibly lose that dream job and we feel discouragement and disappointment. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it!
We suffer another tough day in our personal life feeling defeated by that particular temptation, addiction or enslaving habit. We feel stupid, embarrassed, angry, and defeated! It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.
We experiencing a heartbreaking setback in a personal relationship in our lives … We walk out of court with the words “Divorce” echoing in our ears. We feel rejected, lonely and unloved. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.
We hear a bad report from the doctor for ourselves, or a loved one. Our hearts race with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.
We stand beside the grave of someone we love very much and we feel a deep loneliness and ache in our heart. It is Friday and although Sunday is coming, we don’t yet realize it.
It is in those moments that we feel the darkness of that first Good Friday!
It is in those moments that we need to take to heart the example of Jesus that is described in the Bible in the Book of Hebrews. In the 12th chapter of that encouraging book, Jesus is described as our champion who initiates and perfects our faith. We are reminded that as Jesus went to the cross he had the following focus: “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross.” That was an incredible focus!
Corrie ten Boom, who suffered in a Nazi death camp, explained the power of focus: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest!”
… This morning as we allow ourselves to feel the darkness that those first believers must have felt, let’s focus our thoughts on the fact that … Yes at times in life, the candle might have been blown out temporarily, but it will shine again very, very soon! You see … it is Friday, but Easter Sunday is coming! Let’s take a moment now and reflect on what they must have felt and the reminder that no matter what we might be going through in our lives … It is Friday, but Easter Sunday is coming!