Watching on The Best Friday

imageLuke 23: [44] *It was now about the sixth hour,* and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,* [45] while the sun’s light failed. And *the curtain of the temple was torn in two. [46] Then Jesus, *calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, *into your hands I *commit my spirit!” And having said this *he breathed his last. [47] Now *when the centurion saw what had taken place, *he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” [48] And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home *beating their breasts. [49] And all *his acquaintances and *the women who had followed him from Galilee *stood at a distance watching these things.

Today we commemorate the death of Jesus. Every time I read the above passage, I can’t help but imagine myself, standing and watching as, we see in vs 49, all His acquaintances were doing. I’ve often wondered, were they hopelessly stunned? Were they shocked? Were they numb, similar to the way I felt the day my mom passed, realizing I would no longer hear her voice, count on her words of wisdom or encouragement, or feel her hug again while on this earth? But as I contemplated the grief and hopelessness of these possibilities, it suddenly dawned on me, they were watching! They were not walking away, heading for home while beating their breast as all the crowds were doing! They were watching! When we watch, we expect! I, as suddenly, felt so encouraged. Maybe they were not completely overcome; maybe they were counting on the teachings of Christ, that He would overcome death and rise (Lk 9:21-22; Lk 9:44-45; Lk 18:31-34)! And maybe they stood watching, expecting to see Him conquer death, and miraculously climb down from that instrument of torture! In each teaching before His crucifixion, Jesus explained that it would be 3 days, but as it says in Lk 18:34: “they understood none of these things. *This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” Perhaps as they stood there with each other, dealing with the devastated dreams they had of seeing Jesus sitting on an actual throne, ruling as king of the Jews, and bringing them and their families that promised peace, they were transitioning in their hope. Perhaps they were remembering bits and pieces of His teachings that were previously masked as a result of their own determination to see their own plan for Christ fulfilled. Of course they were still wrong. Christ would be faithful to the plan and to the words He had spoken, and He would not rise until the 3 days had passed, but I still think this is encouraging! We are like sheep, stubborn, and certainly not too bright when held up to the omniscience of God. But God is faithful, long suffering, patient, and loving (to say the least in light of the fact that he had just sacrificed His own Son for our forgiveness of sins and our reconciliation to Him). He so knows our shortcomings! And He so loves us despite them, equipping us with the faith to believe!

The acquaintances of Jesus had every reason to “watch”! Their problem…they simply did not watch long enough. I am taking note of this today. As I spend this day reflecting on what Christ did for me on the cross, I am making a fresh commitment to Him as my Ruler and King. I am asking for the wisdom of His Holy Spirit, to hear His words and His plan for my life clearly, untainted by my plans. I will spend my days watching and expecting, with a new determination to be patient to see His plan fulfilled. So much of life can cause me to become anxious, to stress, to think that His promised return is slow to come. In a sense, I stand and decide, since He is not climbing off the cross, that His promises aren’t being fulfilled. But of course, and praise Jesus, I am wrong. And again, Christ will be faithful to the plan and to the words He has spoken, and He will accomplish all things, His thrilling return for those of us who are reconciled to Him (Lk 21:25-28). So to all, on this extremely Good Friday, bow your knee to the only King and Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

Jesus, beloved and true;
Yearning and wondering when
You’ll be coming back again,
Under all I say and do,
Just longing, dear Lord, for you.
Some glad day, all watching past,
Some glad day, all watching past,
You will come for me at last;
Then I’ll see you, hear your voice,
Be with you, with you rejoice;
How the sweet hope thrills me through,
Sets me longing, dear Lord, for you.

(Poem extracted from Streams in the Dessert, Daily Devotional, March 29th)

Sharon Cannavo

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