Good Friday is a tricky day. A lot of people skip Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. They miss the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. They miss the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross. If we haven’t watched Christ suffer and die on the cross, where is the joy in the resurrection? If we don’t see our God dead, then where is the power of the resurrection?
However, Good Friday loses a lot of it’s impact for us. We know the end of the story! We know that Christ will rise. We know that death is not the end. We don’t know what it is like to be Simon, carrying the cross of Jesus. We don’t know what it is like to be the beloved disciple watching his teacher and friend die. We don’t know what it is like to be Nicodemus, having to help bury the person who changed the course of his life. We don’t know what it is like to be Mary, watching her son cruelly executed right in front of her. We don’t know the pain of thinking that our savior is killed and our hope along with him.
Does our knowing the end of the story diminish the power of Good Friday? There is no denying that some of the emotional heft, some of the loss of hope, some of the despair is lost. The impact is not lost. It is not lost that Jesus would suffer on the cross for us. It is not lost that Jesus would die for us. It does not die that even in his last moments, Jesus would say, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
So we gather on Friday. We put our hope on the back burner. We forget that death has no victory. We enter into faux despair. We remember the pain and agony suffered by a man on our behalf. We remember that Christ died, willingly, for us. We remember that God died for us. Nothing can lessen the impact of that.
John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”