Like many around the world, this past weekend our church contemplated the suffering Savior in our Good Friday service and then all-out celebrated the now-not-dead-but-fully-risen-and-alive Savior on Sunday.
Our Good Friday service was intentionally designed: dimly lit auditorium and a somber mood. I wanted to feel the weight of this night. Though I know how this story ends, I wanted to get a sense of how the disciples must have felt on that day that this Savior willingly allowed Himself to be put through the most gruesome and vile sort of death one could witness.
Wasn’t He supposed to save them?
I began to ask myself, “What if this was it? What if there was no more of the story to tell?”
As we sang One Righteous Man, I felt a weightiness within, a sadness, almost like a despair. Like a movie where I know the ending, I too often just fast forward to the end of this story where death is defeated and righteousness wins.
But it is good for me to pause and realize how bleak things must have looked on that day that the Son of God hung on a cross. The shame. The becoming sin for me. The utter hopelessness felt by those who thought for sure that He was the one. But now it appeared as if He was not.
This reality…or this one?
And at the end of the service, our preaching pastor got up and said something that confronted me with a truth from that evening. He made the statement that as believers in the Gospel, we too often live in the reality of the Friday night instead of the reality of the Sunday morning.
Meaning, how often I live as if Friday night was the end of the story. And what that looks like practically is that I get easily discouraged. I doubt God and His promises. I live in the what is and forget what Jesus has told me in His word. And like the disciples, though Jesus told them He would rise on the third day, all they heard was that he was going to be killed.
Plans were unravelling.
And even upon seeing the empty tomb, “they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9).
Every day, and I would say that many times throughout the day, I am confronted with which reality I will choose to live in. Will I stop at the reality of His death and act as if I have no hope and be overcome by the cares and weights of this world? To have my identity in the people and circumstances around me?
Or will I remember the rest of the story and live in the reality that He overthrew death and that my identity is now in Jesus? That though this world is broken and sinful, I live as if Jesus really did conquer death? And that in His resurrection my worldview of that which is around me is totally and radically changed?
My driftings in life never drift to hope. I drift to lack of trust and despair many times, walking away from viewing Jesus on the cross and living with shattered expectations.
A risen Jesus gives me a new reality
But. He. Is. Alive.
And if He is alive, and He is, and if His resurrection gives us new life, and it does, then our daily view of reality must reflect that.
And it is only in the reality of His resurrection that I can ponder His death and give great thanks and foresee the hope of my Savior dying for my sins giving me new life and new affections.
And though Friday’s service left me with a sense of heaviness of heart, it was quite amazing to gather again on Sunday living in a resurrection reality.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” (I Corinthians 15:55)