Holy Week: Good Friday

26 As they led him away, they seized Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, and laid the cross on him to carry behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd of people followed him, including women who were mourning and lamenting him. 28 But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children. 29 Look, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the women without children, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with him. 33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.

35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders were scoffing: “He saved others; let him save himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him. They came offering him sour wine 37 and said, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

38 An inscription was above him: This Is the King of the Jews.

39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:26-43

He chose to drink the cup, and it’s getting dark.

He has been abandoned by all his friends and they’re pacing behind a locked door, and the sky is dark.

He’s endured a severe physical beating by the religious, and it’s dark.

He hasn’t slept, and it’s still dark.

He’s walked two and a half miles, and it’s still dark.

He’s been scourged to the point of death, and it’s still dark.

He’s been crowned with thorns, and it’s still dark.

He’s been stripped, and it’s still dark.

He’s been made a spectacle of defying the Roman government, and it’s still dark.

He warned following mourners that the wrath of God is more severe than what He was enduring, but it is still dark.

He was nailed and lifted up, but it is still dark.

He forgave those who mocked, sneered and divided His garments, but it is still dark.

He did not save Himself so He could save others, but it is still dark.

He was given the title “King of the Jews” and still rejected, but it is still dark.

His endurance changed the heart of a criminal, but it is still dark.

He promised Paradise, but it is still dark.

His suffering plunged all of creation into agony, but it’s still dark.

His sacrifice torn the veil from heaven to earth, but it’s still dark.

His cry meant God would no longer dwell in a house made of hands, but it’s still dark.

His work is finished, but it’s still dark.

How could this not bring us low and make us grateful for salvation? His suffering was more than any of us could bear. He chose to drink the cup knowing full well that He would be “…despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)

Times my “suffering” by a thousand and it still wouldn’t equal His, but He bore it all because I couldn’t. He made a way. Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world, but He overcame the world. He overcame more than that. It’s still dark, beloved, but Sunday’s coming.