Good Friday Reflection – Mark 14:32-15:47

Mark 14:32-15:47

This is Good Friday.  The darkest day of the Christian Year.  I have heard from many people this week who said that this is their favorite service.  I couldn’t agree more.  There is something about the quiet darkness of tonight that speaks to the deepest parts of our soul.

Tonight we hear Mark’s version of Jesus’ crucifixion. I’ll be honest with you, it is a dismal story.  There is very little hope within it.  On Sunday we heard about the two processions that entered into Jerusalem.  On one side was Jesus coming in peace and non-violence.  On the other side was Pontius Pilate and the Roman empire coming with military power and weapons.  Tonight, those two processions meet and they confront one another. In the end, it is a story about a man, named Jesus, who has been given over into the arms of the government so that he can be destroyed.

I don’t want to say a lot tonight because I want the story to speak for itself.  But let me say this.  Jesus doesn’t die tonight because God is angry at you.  Jesus doesn’t die because God is angry at you for your sins and thus needs someone to pay the price for them.  Jesus doesn’t die in order to forgive people’s sin; he forgives people’s sins and then he dies.  That is what started all of this in the first place.  That is what gets everyone so riled up about him.  Jesus was going all over the place forgiving people’s sins and people started to ask, “Who does this guy think he is? Does he think he is God?”  Jesus doesn’t die because God is angry with you and your sins, Jesus dies because he stood up for love.  In the face of a government that is built on wielding power and violence over its people, Jesus stands up and proclaims God’s unyeilding love for the people of the world.  And in the end he gets sentenced to death for it.

And when Jesus is on the cross, he prays the most human prayer of all – my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Jesus comes proclaiming God’s love for the world but in his last breath, he can only express a deep absence of God.  Jesus prays to God and hears nothing in return.  Something all of us can relate to, I think. So tonight, Jesus is comfort for those who have no comfort.  Jesus is God for those who have no God.[1]

Tonight we find in Jesus a god to whom we can cling even in our darkest hour.  But then the question becomes: what do we do when the God in Jesus who loves us and this world dies?  Is there any hope to found at all?


[1] Barbara Brown Taylor, Home By Another Way, p. 85.

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