How’s your Friday so far? Just another normal day? You awoke. Ate some breakfast. Began your daily routine. Checked out the news. Went to work. And you pretty much expect it to end like most Friday’s. Right?
Did you ever think what is was like on that Friday Christ was crucified?
I suppose most folks began it as they would normally. But little did they know what was about to happen.
Even as they awoke Jesus had endured a sleepless night. A night of trial. Of cross-examination. Of listening to suborned testimony.
The Teacher is about to be brutally beaten. Nailed to a cross. And buried in a borrowed tomb.
It was as the physician Luke recorded, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Lk. 9:51)
The face of Jesus is determined. Resolute. Intense. He’s going to the cross. And He knows it. It is his destiny. His mission. His purpose.
However, that day countless lives would be touched. What began as a routine Friday would end in upheaval. Confusion. Puzzlement.
The sun would cease to shine. The day would become dark. Graves would open. Departed saints would come alive. An earthquake would shake the foundations of Jerusalem. The veil of the temple is about to be torn down the middle. Rocks would be split asunder.
And if you were there that day and could look into the faces around the cross, you would see a lot of different reactions. Different responses. Different attitudes. Behind each face is a person with a story to tell. You would see tear-stained cheeks. Smiles. Arrogance. Horror. Hurt. Confusion.
Just a quick glance around and you would see Mary. John. Peter from a distance. Nicodemus. Joseph of Arimathea. Mary Magdalene. And a crowd of godly women. Soldiers. Curious bystanders. And two thieves.
For the next several Friday’s we want to get a good look at these faces. To see what they saw. To feel what they felt. And to learn what they were taught. What we will see is literally the good. The bad. And the ugly. And I think on this Friday not much has changed. For every doubter. There is a believer. For every coward there is a brave soul. And for every quitter, there is someone making a new start. Which are you?
As we reflect on these varied faces around the cross we will enjoy the vantage point of history to know whatever they were feeling was about to change in three days. It was Friday. But what they didn’t know was that Sunday was coming!
Sad faces would become glad. And glad faces would become sad. And smug faces would turn to bewilderment.
When you wake up Sunday, and face the specter of the empty tomb, what will be your reaction? Your attitude? Your response? Just remember there is no neutral position. No straddling the fence. No dismissive look.
It may be Friday. But Sunday’s coming! Face it!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman