Our church had a sweet open prayer and reflection time on Good Friday. They showed a video clip of the crucifixion drama. As I watched it play out, I wept.
I wept watching Jesus stare into Judas’ eyes with a pleading to not go through with it. Judas looked down in shame as he kissed him. I wept watching Jesus get flogged. Not one person was coming to his rescue. And then as He hung on the cross and cried out to his Father… the despair and loneliness…the shame he must have felt… such a public display with so many watching but no one able to rescue.
And then the complete and utter abandonment He experienced when the person whom He loved the most- his Father- disowned him. To watch that scene play out, and then to sit in that emptiness just broke my heart.
The closest thing I can think of to compare that type of humiliation to is giving birth. Moms, I’m sure you can relate. Laying on the hospital bed naked and, especially with the first one, terrified as well. So vulnerable and even though surrounded by a spouse and nurses, you’re still in a way, so alone. Because in that moment, you’re the only one going through the pain you feel. And though others are there to help, they cannot take that pain away from you. In order for that child to enter the world, you have to endure the pain.
In a way, grief is similar also. When we go through loss, though there may be many people around us helping us through and bringing comfort, no one can fully take away the pain we feel. We must endure through it, just as Christ knew He had to endure.
As I watched the crucifixion drama, though it was breaking my heart, I held onto hope because I was waiting for the good part, where they would show Jesus rise from the dead! However, that’s not what happened. Right after Jesus was placed in the tomb, the video ended. But no! I was watching it the whole time hopeful because I was waiting for the resurrection to come.
When the video ended, I wept even harder as I was left to sit with that uneasy feeling inside.
For two days, I sat with the tension. I cried numerous times Friday and Saturday after watching that video and remembering the reality of what Christ did for us. I don’t think we sit in that tension enough. We (definitely myself included) usually want to skip to the good part all too quickly.
On Easter Sunday we are all buttoned up, zipped up, “Hallelujah, He is Risen!” But to ignore the part that makes us feel uncomfortable is to ignore the reality of Jesus’ death.
It’s the BIRTH of the baby that brings the celebration! No one wants the labor to last- of course not! It’s hard and long, grueling and painful. But the reality is- labor MUST happen for there to be new life.
In the busyness of life, it was good for my soul to stop and sit in the hard, in the grief, in the sorrow of what Jesus did. Before Easter came. I need that reminder to truly taste the sweetness of Easter Sunday. Then… when Sunday came this year, I was able to worship and lift my hands in PRAISE in a way that I don’t think I ever have before. But the Holy Spirit had to first break my heart for what He did.
May we live our lives both with a broken heart for what Jesus did and with the hope of the reality that He truly is RISEN! May the Holy Spirit allow us to feel both the tension of the cross intermingled with the sure promise we hold of eternity with him.