The scene is a somber one. Jesus, beaten and bloodied, had arrived at Golgotha. Even the formation of earth upon which they stood—the “Place of a Skull”—was foreshadowing of the death to come. Offered a cup of bitter wine, Jesus would not drink it. Instead, he would drink the cup of God’s wrath poured out for the sin of the world, the cup he had prayed to be spared from only a few hours earlier (Matthew 26:39).
There he hung, crucified and humiliated. Mocked, derided, and reviled: ““If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross”…He saved others; he cannot save himself.” In the words of my family’s favorite children’s Bible, “Jesus could have just climbed down. Actually, he could have just said a word and made it all stop…But Jesus stayed…It wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love” (The Jesus Storybook Bible).
The sky became dark, and Jesus cried out to his Father. There was no response—only silence. Once again, Jesus “cried out with a loud voice,” but this time, it was to give up his spirit. And with one last agonizing breath, Jesus died.
My prayer is that you’ll enter into the sorrow of this scene as we turn our gaze toward Good Friday. To be sure, on Sunday we will celebrate with reckless abandon the good news that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. But first, Jesus died. You see, grace and mercy are freely given to you—but that doesn’t mean they are cheap. The sinless Son of God bore the full extent of God’s wrath for your sin.
It is good for us to feel the weight of that—but don’t linger there too long.
Sunday is coming.