Hopeless & Afraid

Read Mark 15:16-39

Hopeless & Afraid.

I got shut down and good. In a seminary class discussion, I  suggested that all was lost on Good Friday. My Methodist professor forcefully (and angrily?) said it was not. It was the kind of exchange in which I knew to just shut up.

Having spent several classes with him, I knew he had a theology of foreknowledge. That is, his understanding of the gospels was that Jesus knew what would happen to him. While this is true in Mark, it is less clear in the other gospels.

What my professor missed was that for the disciples who never quite got what Jesus was telling them, the death of Jesus on the cross felt like the end of the story. This is true even in Mark with its clarity that Jesus knew what would happen. All was lost, from their perspective. They could not imagine the resurrection.

Having heard the passion narrative repeatedly, we often fail to appreciate just how the first Good Friday felt to Jesus’ followers. As the life drained out of him on the cross, all the hopes and dreams for a better world drained out of the disciples. Fear and terror for their own lives replaced all the joy and hope of Palm Sunday.

Like the oblivious disciples, we miss the power of Easter when we race through or ignore Good Friday.

The least attended service of Holy Week, when we move from Maundy Thursday or Palm Sunday to Easter, we fail to go to the depths of disappointment and terror at a world controlled by hate and the power hungry instead of God. Jesus must die in order for the resurrection to take place.

As you read the Good Friday scripture, try to imagine how the followers of Jesus felt watching their savior die on the cross. Try to imagine Good Friday without Easter.

Are there times in your life when you experience hopelessness and desperation? Are their situations when you refuse or fail to hear God’s loving message? Is it about a lack of trust in God or is it the result of the inability to imagine Easter?

See you Friday at 6,

Tim

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