Good Friday… We can’t imagine what it must have been like to be in front of the cross to hear Jesus say, “It is finished!”, hang his head and die. Right there. In front of us. WE are fortunate- we know the deal wasn’t over. We know their future, and we call it Easter. We know about Jesus’ resurrection. We know what happened with the rag tag group to whom Jesus entrusted the message of eternal life. We know about an uneducated fisherman/follower named Peter who was such a coward he wasn’t even around at the cross, only to read about his radical (that word doesn’t even begin to come close) transformation in the book of Acts. We know Peter proclaimed Jesus at a festival gathering and 3000 people believed. We know the disciples turned the world right side up with the message of the cross. WE know all that on this side of the resurrection. The folks at the cross? THEY didn’t. Jesus said it was finished, His broken, lifeless body was taken down from the cross, prepared for burial, and put in a cave like tomb, with a giant flat stone rolled down a short little ramp, to slam in place over the opening and seal the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth. (More on the stone in the next post.) Yeah, those at the cross that day saw the sky go dark in the middle of the day, they heard the Roman soldier exclaim, “Surely this was the Son of God!” They experienced all that had happened that day, and then… it was over. Jesus was dead. Gone.
How excruciating that must have been for those followers. The shock and anger and confusion and pain and… emptiness.
They would learn a valuable truth in just a relatively few hours. It was the same truth the famed theologian/baseball player/manager Yogi Berra would state in this way almost 2000 years later as he described the drama of baseball- “It ain’t over til it’s over!” The witnesses of the cross that day would discover that just because it looks like it’s over, trust in God. And wait. It just may not be what it seems.
Here’s the “so what” of this post (you know, the so what does this have to do with me part)…What situation or life circumstance looks like it’s over in your life right now? What part of your life looks like you’ve reached the end of the road as you know it, and the future is not something you’re looking forward to? The chance to go back to school? The search for the mate you so want to have? The marriage that is so dead it just can’t possibly be resurrected? The relationship with a best friend that has gone down the tubes? Take a cue from Good Friday… Wait.
Does the future look scary? Things may look a lot better in three days.
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.