As a pastor Easter week is always an interesting time, preparing messages the Easter story, that I have heard since I have been a little child. As I was reading the other day and came across a passage that hit me in a new way as I was preparing for Good Friday.
Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane praying for God’s will to be done, and instructing his disciples that all this was part of God’s will. And as he is telling them this is God’s will it reads in Matthew 26:56, “Then all the disciples left him and fled.” 11 men Jesus had spent almost three years teaching and grooming as leaders run. Their fight or flight instincts kick in, and they run. In Jesus’ moment of betrayal, arrest, and what we know is the beginning of his road literally to his death his disciples have left him alone. Maybe even foreshadowing, Jesus own feeling of abandonment on the cross later on Friday.
But who can blame the disciples. Few people seek out conflict, pain, suffering, abandonment, betrayal, and death. Death and dying are one of the items most feared by people in the United States.
My prayer for you this week as we approach Good Friday is to take time and sit uncomfortably in these scriptures, and to feel the weight and impact of these words. I encourage you to take time to prayer and reflect, and to not rush to the next item on your checklist. Take time to reflect and allow these scripture to really soak in, and see how God will speak to you through them. But don’t run. Don’t be like the disciples, running from the pain, the hurt, and the death Jesus would experience. This is Good Friday, not so we can forget it and rush ahead to Easter, but to experience the darkness of Good Friday so we can feel the weight lifted and the pure joy of Easter.
- What does Good Friday mean to you?
- How might you observe Good Friday?