Hope is not always cheery it is the consistent, authentic expectation of light even in the dark.
Today, is Good Friday. Today, we read and remember the death of Christ. Sunday is coming, to be sure, but there is hope to be found even on this day, even at Golgatha.
Often our situation is more Friday than Sunday. We do not have to look far to learn about stories of food deserts and homelessness and depression and abuse and tragedy and violence. It is all around.
Friday started in the early moments for Jesus. In the cool of the pre-dawn air Jesus was betrayed by a kiss and arrested. The innocent man was shackled and taken before the courts. In Isaiah 53 we read, “This one, who is the bearer of our infirmities, was accounted stricken, and struck down by God.” Though his was a life perfectly lived, he was mocked, accused, and sentenced.
Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon him he took the punishment of us all. A criminal’s death was not humane. Rome knew how to torture. Good Friday brings us face to face with the agony of violence, the pain of death.
The power of the Good Friday story identifies The Suffering Servant in Isaiah as our Messiah. Jesus humbled himself, became a man, and went to the cross for us. He did not side step Friday; he did not transcend suffering or pain or death. Jesus brought Salvation into every part of our world. There was no part of human experience Jesus did not experience.
NT Wirght says,
“It is because in his death on the cross we see a love which can only be identified as God’s love that we Christians say: He was not just a great teacher, dying for his beliefs. He was not just a good man suffering innocently. He was, and is, the loving God himself, come as a human being to save men, women, and children from sin and death, and from all the stain and fear and guilt and shame which cling to our hearts, our memories, our imaginations, our lives.”
There is hope on Good Friday because it is God there on the cross. Not just any man; It is God.
Although it is easy to leave Good Friday quickly, we are called to take up the cross. This is more than a slogan. It is a call to step into the places where Friday is most evident in our world. We need to wait in the dark long enough to discover what God is doing under cover of darkness.
Jesus cried, “It is finished,” as he breathed his last. It was a cry to announce the Kingdom was breaking in. Salvation belongs to our God. The way of the Cross is the power God poured out for the world.
It is costly to look into the darkness of human life. The road calls for suffering and pain and messiness, but it is the only way to see what must be done. Remember Hope is not always cheery it is the consistent, authentic expectation of light even in the dark.
We will get to Sunday, but love does not transcend Friday. Love suffers with the world. This is why we celebrate Good Friday.