Last night, I was with a friend who had lost something precious to her. What’s worse, it was believed to have been taken by someone she cares about which not only ripped something from her possession but also ripped her heart out. As she recounted the heaviness of the day and the myriad of thoughts and emotions circling through her, it was evident that her body, mind and spirit were exhausted. She had a deep love, grief and genuine concern for the perpetrator and yet was angry and sad because this possession could never be replaced.
Today is Good Friday. We remember the gruesome suffering and death of Jesus. We mourn, we grieve, and we give thanks that on this day so long ago, it appeared that something precious was taken from us.
My first thoughts this morning were about the women who were there. The apostle Mark states in chapter 15, verse 40, “Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.”
It was these same women who after he died and was buried, bought spices that they might go and anoint him. Only when they went to do so, He was no longer there.
I wonder what it was like to walk through life with Jesus as these women did. Standing by Him as he suffered the cross and caring for His needs, even in His death. They loved Him and as they looked on, must have experienced a sense of suffering with Him. Their feelings could have ranged from rage against the perpetrators, confusion regarding everything their Rabi had taught them, grief and sadness because something precious had been taken from them. Yet, I also wonder if there was a slight sense of peace. After all, they had been discipled by Jesus and maybe had learned in a short time to have that slight sense of peace in the midst of dire circumstances, when you know you are following the King of Kings.
How often do we suffer with those who are suffering, from beginning to end, with the acute sense that God is doing something powerful through them? I am convicted that I rarely will suffer-long through a situation with the hope that comes from the power of Christ Crucified. I am convicted that I rarely suffer -long, much less suffer well, until the eventual resolve where there is hope and glory because of the power of Christ Risen.
By the end of the night, my friend had found what was lost. It was returned to her with much sorrow. My friend also experienced a sense of sorrow, but hers was deeply mingled with joy. The joy she sought after as she inquired of the Lord, had allowed the grace and peace of Jesus to rest on her and flow through this precarious situation.
Today is Good Friday. Let us remember the suffering Christ endured for us and the truth that joy and sorrow are indeed deeply mingled. Let us give thanks for a precious Savior who came and died so that we could live.
Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf. Thank you Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Thank you for enduring the cross, scorning its shame, for the joy set before you. Help me persevere as much as humanly possible through the pain and suffering of life around me. Help me to scorn the shame that is within me and in those whom I minister to. Let the grace and peace that is a gift because of your broken body resound deep within me and flow out to those around me.