Ever you felt like your whole world has been turned upside down? This is certainly unpleasant, and can be gut wrenching. You are in good company. Let’s look at the Friday of Jesus’ last week. Remember he enters Jerusalem on a Sunday, greeted with Hosanna’s and palm branches. The city is all a buzz and messianic expectations are at a fever pitch. The King has come to reclaim his throne. Only, instead of military might and swords, Jesus’ kingdom is a kingdom of love and self-sacrifice. The high-fives and Hallelujah’s were replaced with a barrage of questions and traps. The religious leaders were looking for a way to rid Israel of her supposed king. This wasn’t the first time that Israel had made it clear that they didn’t want God as their only king.
Friday was a dark day. A day of deep questions. A day of longing. A day of lamenting. All of the disciple’s hopes for a restored Israel had come crashing down as their teacher, and friend hung beaten and bruised from a Roman cross in between two thieves. We have been there too, haven’t we? When we felt like the rug has been pulled out from under us. Maybe you woke up this morning, and you feel that way?
Friday is a day of grief and despair. But if you know the Jesus story. You know that our suffering, trials and despair isn’t the final word. We can enter into these valleys with full assurance that our Good Shepherd is leading us, and protecting us. In between the storm of Friday and the hope of Sunday, is the silence of Saturday. Silence frightens us. We are a people who like noise. But sometimes, silence can be a friend to the weary. Silence forces us to listen. Silence forces us to rest. If you listen hard enough to this story, you can begin to hear a crescendo coming!
Friday may be a day of darkness and tears. But on the other side of Friday’s free fall into the abyss of doubt comes an empty grave and the promise of new life. Because Jesus was willing to walk in the muck for us, we can be assured that Friday’s failings are turned into Sunday’s hope. For centuries people have seen death as the final act in a brief drama. But because the plan of God, and his unfailing love, death is defeated and now because of Jesus, it is a “see you later”!
As we celebrate today the hope of resurrection and the new life that Jesus offers, let us not forget that the cross and the empty tomb are tightly bound together. We need both to fully appreciate the enormity of God’s kingdom agenda. We don’t get to the empty tomb without the splinters of the cross. We need to remember that when darkness closes in and death seems like it is winning, that God is in the business of resurrection. Resurrecting hope, life and offering his wayward people second chances.