Today is Good Friday. It has come at last. We have gone through the wilderness of Lent and have arrived…where?
Jesus is tried, condemned, and forced to carry the instrument of his own death to his place of crucifixion. He is nailed to the cross and the cross placed upright. Jesus hangs there for hours. And spite of all his power, Jesus dies. The disciples are in hiding, figuring they will be next. They are left heartbroken, not knowing what to do, where to go.
How can we continue? What do we do now?
In his book The Day the Revolution Began, Bishop N.T. Wright says that the early Christians were convinced that the world, at Jesus’ death, was somehow…changed. It was suddenly not the same world they were born into. Before Jesus died, Sin ruled the world. But Jesus, by his death, changed the world so that we are no longer slaves to Sin. We are free. And that is a message of hope.
Something new had come into the world in the late afternoon of Good Friday, and that new thing was Hope.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic, the like of which has not been seen for 100 years. With COVID-19 spreading through the world, we desperately need Hope. We are frightened, both for our own well-being and for the well-being of those we love. We’re not sure where to turn or what to do.
Like the disciples.
But we have an advantage the disciples did not have. We know what comes next. We know how the story ends.
We know that Christ conquered Sin. But we also know that he conquered Death.
So where do we find Hope? We find it in the same place early Christians found it:
In the fact that when Jesus died, he took on Sin and Death, and defeated them, once and for all.
In the fact that death is not the end.
In the fact that Christ is always with us.
Christ has died, yes, and we still have to live in the wilderness of Lent for a while longer.
But Hope has been born.
And Easter is coming.
Let us pray:
O Lord Jesus Christ, as we deal with pandemic and with the wilderness of Good Friday, help us to avoid despair, to keep faith, to recall that we will be resurrected with you. Help us to hope. Amen.