Today is Good Friday, and our reading is most of Mark chapter 15. It is a long reading, and it is very sad. We will do our best to follow Jesus with our attention, with our imaginations, and with our hearts as he loves us to the very end.
No one in this story can see what is really happening. The soldiers make fun of Jesus by bowing down to him, but he really is God's king. People mock him for saying he can raise a ruined temple in three days when they are destroying the body that God will raise. And they say he cannot save himself by coming down from the cross, when he is saving us all by dying there. Right now, can I ask Jesus to help me truly see his love and his power in this story?
One person does see. When Jesus dies, the Roman commander can truly see that he is the Son of God. I wonder what this soldier sees, in the sad and broken person on the cross? Can I ask Jesus to help me, as I look up at his cross, to see and believe that he is God's Son, the one who has come to save our world?
Jesus is silent in this story until the very end. Right before he dies, he cries out the words of Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you deserted me?" And then he falls silent again, and the temple curtain is torn apart. Jesus, the Son of God, loses his connection with his Father so that I can enter into God's presence forever. Can I quietly thank Jesus for his deep love and gift to me right now?
The story ends with women who followed Jesus all the way from Galilee. The disciples ran away, but these women stayed with Jesus to the end. Can I ask Jesus right now to help me always follow him, wherever his road will lead?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to ask God about right now, or carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you for going to the cross for us. Thank you for a love that even death cannot break. Help us to trust in that love and follow where you lead, all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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