16So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.So they took Jesus, 17and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,“They divided my garments among them,and for my clothing they cast lots.”So the soldiers did these things, 25but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.28After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.31Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19:16-42
It is finished.
They have crucified my King and he hangs lifeless on the cross and the darkness deepens around me.
Though I stand with his disciples, his mother, and other followers, I am alone, alone in my despair, alone in my grief, alone in my fear.
In this moment, they have won.
In this moment, they have stopped him and saved themselves from his convicting, piercing words.
In this moment, they have pierced his hands, his feet, his side.
In this moment, they have convicted him although there is no guilt, no sin in him.
The darkness settles thicker on my heart as the earth pours its darkness out upon the cross and the crowd and the world around us.
As Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus anoint his body, wrap him in linens and lay him in the tomb, I am struck by the eerie similarity of this image to the night of his birth, when he was anointed with life through Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger and my heart breaks a little more.
As the rain pours down and the crowd disperses each to his own home, I find my way back to the Garden of Gethsemane, the most sacred place I can think of going so that I can reflect on this journey with Jesus.
I sit in the spot where he prayed so often, pouring out his heart to his Father and feel connected to him once again. I fall to my knees and hold my heart out to Jesus, pouring out my gratitude, my adoration, my love. My limited, too-often-conditional, extremely fragile, all-too-human love. But it is all that I have, as fallible as it is.
And that’s when it happens, the uncontrollable, wracking sobs that shake all of me.
He is gone. It is finished. He will not walk these roads again, he will not teach in the synagog again, he will not break bread with his disciples again.
It’s Friday, and though Sunday is coming, in this moment in Jerusalem, that doesn’t mean the same as it does today.
In this moment there is only brokenness, darkness, deep, piercing sadness and loneliness. My body shakes violently as the sobs continue and I long with an aching in my heart for just one more moment with Jesus on this side of heaven. I yearn for one more moment in his presence so I can hear his voice and listen to his words, so I can see his smile and hear his laugh and watch his love.
That is why I sit here alone in the garden. Because of his love. His extravagant, sacrificial, unconditional, amazing, all-encompassing love.
And my heart seeks that love more than ever right now. But I realize that I don’t have to seek it because it is being poured out over me, it is being wrapped around me, it is being freely given and freely received.
My time in the garden is drawing to an end and my life of chaos and little girls and making meals stands on the threshold, waiting. But even so, I bring the garden, I bring this journey, I bring Jesus’ extravagant love with me into my daily living. I bring the sacred into my ordinary, the holy into my chaos.
That is what this Good Friday is about for me. It is about bringing Jesus into each moment, this Jesus with whom I have walked to Jerusalem, this Jesus that loves me with a love that I cannot begin to understand, explain or describe.
But it is mine and it has been freely given and freely received and I will celebrate it as I live out the moments, the story, of my day today.
Because it’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.