The screeching of metal-on metal awoke me from my frozen state of panic. When the car finally came to a halt, I batted through deployed air-bags and crumbled-in car doors to escape the vehicle.
What happened? Was I hurt? Why was I still in the middle of the road? Surely other cars would run into me. Where was my phone? How would I get home on my own?
It was Good Friday of 2015.
I quickly scampered across the highway and stood on the side of the road. If I hadn’t been in shock, I would have cried. My car was destroyed.
“Oh my! Does anyone know where the driver of the car is? They must be really hurt!”
“Yeah, that car is totaled for sure.”
When I heard the passive onlookers inquire, I timidly spoke up, “Actually, I’m the driver.”
I felt pitiful and alone that day.
Although this may seem like an unconventional way to begin a post about Easter, the truths I learned in this moment have tremendously altered the way I perceive Jesus’ crucifixion.
We all have a “Good Friday” story like I’ve told here. Yours may be a moment of deep, dark, depression, or a child who passed away. It may be a broken heart and a broken body that someone else abused. Perhaps it’s a failing marriage or a friend who betrayed your trust. Whatever your story of brokenness–it didn’t feel “good.” In fact, quite the opposite. You’re searching to find the “good” that can make you feel normal again–that can alleviate the hurt that your “Good Friday” moment brought with it.
But on Good Friday about 2000 years before my wreck, the Son of God experienced the deepest, darkest moment of brokenness we can imagine. If I were telling you about that Good Friday, it may have gone something like this:
The splintering thud of wood-on-wood awoke Him from the whipping pain of lashes. They were making His cross. When the lashes finally ceased, He battled through the pain of each step, bearing the beams up to Golgotha.
Why was He being treated this way? Where was God? How much more of the pain could His body take?
It was Good Friday. The only one that matters.
“Clink…clink.” The nails drove into his hands as His body writhed in pain. But that wasn’t what was on His mind.
You were on His mind as His torn body hung on the cross. As if the physical pain wasn’t enough, the shame–the guilt–of every single sin for ALL humanity weighed upon Him. He was the only One who could pay the price for it. In this moment, the Son of God was more alone than we could ever think of being. This Son was not only alone, He was un-protected–forsaken by His own Father.
He heard the passive onlookers say, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” (Matt 27:42)
“He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” (Matt 27:42)
They gave him no response of sympathy or acknowledgement.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Jesus’ Good Friday is unlike anything we could ever begin to imagine or experience for ourselves. But even if we could, His sacrifice was different because He CHOSE to give it.
Here’s the beauty of Good Friday: It’s not the end. Whatever you are facing–whatever the struggle, whatever the tragedy–this is NOT the end of your story because it wasn’t the end of His story! The glory of Easter is that three days later Jesus ROSE again, overcoming sin and death for eternity if you would only accept it, believe it, and confess it!
All of those not-so-good Friday moments we’ve had in our lives meet their redemption at the cross of Christ because it is the ONLY place where salvation can be found. It is often in the lowest valleys that we recognize our need to be saved.
This Easter, don’t just gloss over the Easter story because you’ve heard it a thousand times. Realize that His story is not just a myth or an anecdote in a textbook. And realize that YOUR story is a part of His.