A Veil of Darkness
This may have been the lowest point this world has ever seen. Not only was Jesus, the most justice- and peace-filled man to walk the earth, put to death in the most despicable way, but he was mocked by the bystanders. Shame upon shame came to one without sin. Jesus’ closest friends abandoned him in his hour of need, and he was utterly alone. Darkness filled the land, as even the planet was weighed down heavily by the events of the afternoon. Sin, stretched out over time and space, converged upon one man who took on the responsibility for all the sin and death that would ever touch this world. Yes, this was the darkest day in human history.
It may be tempting to rush through this agonizing story to Sunday morning, but sometimes we need to sit in darkness for a while before the light becomes a glorious reprieve. How often do we stop and sit uncomfortably in the silent darkness? As you move through this Good Friday, do not be afraid to sit in silence and darkness. Allow the weight of these events to press heavily on your shoulders and on your heart. Take in all the grief and sorrow that you may be experiencing from events happening in your life now. Let them wash over you. Feel them deeply. Grieve. And then… look toward the light.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 23:32-47
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”