The Coming of Everlasting Joy

A Lenten devotional for Good Friday.

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- Posted on Mar 19, 2010

A cross against the sky


And they crucified him…—Mark 15:24

It was the darkest day. The unbearable day. Many who had followed Jesus up to now fled from the events of Friday. And those who stayed to watch wept in horror.

The rigged trial, the mob that howled for the blood of the man who had failed to meet their patriotic expectations. The brutal beating, the savagery of the soldiers, the stumbling walk through the city He had entered to cheers five days before. Finally, the nails pounded into flesh, the tortured body jerked upright, the naked man dying by inches as his enemies jeered.

To have it end like this, after all the bright promise! It was not just the cruel death of the disciples’ young leader, but the death of their faith, the end of all they believed in, on this black Friday that seemed anything but good.

Most of us have experienced this Friday for ourselves. It’s not the disillusionment of Thursday, when our own performance falls short. It’s the blow that strikes from the outside, the tragedy that destroys our loved one, our health, our livelihood.

We feel, as the disciples did on that terrible day, that Jesus Himself has failed us. If He were really God’s son, things like this could not happen. “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)

There is no way around the Fridays of our lives, only the way through—through pain and death and burial. As His sorrowing followers laid Jesus in the tomb, so we lay down the wreckage of our hope.

Ahead was Easter Sunday, but on Friday they couldn’t know that. And neither can we, in the first shock of loss. We can only know that we will know. We can only know that the whole story is not yet told.

For, of course, Jesus is the Christ. He is saving us, whatever the appearance. He is bringing about our everlasting joy, in a way only God could have chosen.

If it is Friday in your life today, Easter cannot be far away.

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