Holidays · Whispers of Faith

When the Sun Set on Friday …

The sun hid her face at noonday that Friday so long ago … for the Son, the Light of the world was about to be extinguished. Darkness fell across the land, mirroring the darkest battle in all of history – the most shocking transaction in the universe.

God, the Maker of all things, said, “Yes. I will give my perfect Son in exchange for filthy, sinful, wretched souls from the past, present, and future. All of their guilt and shame and wrongdoing will lay heavy upon the only One who never did anything wrong.”

Each one of us would howl pretty quickly if we got blamed for something we didn’t do. We would fight for our own innocence and defend ourselves to the end – our internal justice meters instinctively crying out when we see punishment going to the wrong person.

And yet Christ took it on willingly. He never once opened His mouth to defend Himself or prove them wrong or even whisper of the amazing substitutionary transaction that was taking place. The most perfect self-control silently led Him straight to the cross because of His selfless, perfect love.

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

He saw that we had no hope. He knew there was no way we could ever make our sin debt right. And love shone from His eyes as He cried, “It is finished!” and bowed His head.

So the earth shook and the curtain tore in two. The women wept and the centurion marveled. In sorrow, they took His bloody body gently from the cross and laid it inside a tomb. And Friday drew to a terrible, numbing end. They wept through the following day, the Sabbath.

They didn’t know that Sunday was coming – the most joyous day in history. He had told them, but they had no idea what He meant. For them, the story had ended in the most tragic of ways. The unthinkable had happened – their Friend, the One in whom they had trusted and followed had been mercilessly killed and there was nothing they could do about it. This was not the way they had imagined the story ending.

But then again – God never does things the way we expect Him to, does He? His creativity and perfect plans far outweigh even our deepest longings.

We expect a king with a crown of jewels – He gives us a King with a crown of thorns.

We expect a king who puts to death his tormentors – He gives us a King who dies for His tormentors.

We expect a king who triumphs over a corrupt government – He gives us a King who triumphs over death itself.

For Sunday always comes. The victory of Christ’s resurrection sings sweeter than any song we’ve ever heard. He allowed Himself to be put cruelly to death on Friday, but Friday wasn’t the end of the story. He held the ending sweetly in check – and it burst forth from the grave with a glorious sunrise on Sunday – the conquering King emerging with splendid glory. No government, no angry mob, no soldiers standing by, no heavy tombstones, no traitor or move of Satan could keep our Lord and Savior in the grave. He had the final say.

So when we think the darkness of Friday is all that is left … bow your head and wait, Christian.

He always brings a sunrise on Sunday.

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