Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Agony and Wonder

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. – (Matthew 27:50-51, NIV)

Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. – (Matthew 27:50-51, ERV)

Jesus passionately cried out, took His last breath, and gave up His spirit. At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook violently, rocks were violently split apart. – (Matthew 27:50-51, TPT)

Good Friday was a day full of agony and wonder. Jesus endured tremendous suffering in the temple courts, before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the soldiers, and went on carrying His cross to the horror on the hill. There Jesus was hung upon a cross between two criminals, mocked and rejected, yet all the while chose to remain in place for a purpose. Not only did He bear the weight of all our sin, but He cried out for God to forgive all who caused Him to endure the agony upon the cross. When He had accomplished all that was intended, He cried out to God and gave up His Spirit. Darkness had overcome the land, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, there was an earthquake, and rocks were split apart. The tearing of the veil was incredibly significant, as the split opened the curtain to the Holiest of Holies, thus removing the barrier between God and people. Christ’s death on the cross removed the sin and shame that had been cause of the need for the barrier from the beginning. Because He bore our sin and shame, our own behavior that created the divide between us and God, had been removed. In the same way that the rocks were shaken and split, our hearts ought to be stirred to split away from that which keeps us from closeness with Christ. May we be intentional to look to all that Christ endured upon the cross, and give Him praise with awe and wonder at the depth of love that would compel Him to bear all of our sin and make the way for a right relationship with God.

Willing to suffer,

He bore all our sin;

To open the way,

Let new life begin.

It was through His pain,

And all He endured;

That we’ve been made clean,

Granted hope secure.

The goodness that day,

Was promised in three;

A soon empty tomb,

Power to set free.

Let’s look to the cross,

Thank the Lord with praise;

Receive forgiveness,

True hope for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that sacrificed and endured for our sake. Jesus, thank You for suffering in our place to make the way for relationships to be restored with You. Forgive us for every portion of pain that our thoughts, words and deeds heaped upon You on the cross. Teach us to live in the freedom of forgiveness and grace that grows our hearts to love like You. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your heart visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done, still do, and will continue to do, to make the path clear as we seek to serve and honor You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

The Good in Good Friday

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TLB)

For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TPT)

 

This. This is the good that we celebrate on Good Friday. Jesus Christ, who had lived and served and loved without sin, willingly took all sin upon Himself and bore it on the cross, so that we would have a way to be right with God. Our sinfulness was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. His sacrifice made the way for all who seek Him to become righteous before God. This holy exchange is the very thing that empowers God’s goodness to be evident in us. Christ’s love that made the way for us all to be restored unto God, is the good in Good Friday. May we each recognize with reverent awe, the enormity of the exchange that took place on our behalf.

 

One horrific day, The Good in Good Friday

A long time ago;

Christ went to the cross,

To make goodness known.

Upon that old cross,

Jesus bore all sin;

The wrongs of the world,

Were nailed upon Him.

The weight that He bore,

Was for you and I;

Though we were sinners,

He still chose to die.

Such a painful death,

So we could be free;

Covered with goodness,

Righteousness to see.

This is what is good,

On this dreadful day;

Death of our Savior,

Cause for Good Friday.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to take our place upon the cross. Thank You that His goodness covers all of our ugliness in Your eyes. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of the burden You bore on our behalf. Help us to see just how good, Good Friday is because of Your incredible love. Show us how to embrace the goodness You have given to us and empower us to love well, all those whom with we cross paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become aware of the incredible exchange of our sinfulness for Your righteousness, that make Good Friday so good. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

The Saga of that Somber Day

Agony

Withdrawal

Prayer

Disappointment

Prayer

Frustration

Submission

Betrayal

Healing

Denied, denied, denied

Mocked

Beaten

Insulted

Questioned.  Answered.

Accused

Questioned.  Replied.

Justified

Slandered

Sent away

Questioned

Accused

Ridiculed

Robed

Returned

Presented

Exchanged

Sentenced

Surrendered

Burdened

Crucified

Mocked

Defended

Believed

Accepted

Taunted

Forgave

Darkness

Torn

Committed

Received

Finished.

(Responding to Luke 22:47-23:46)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Son for us.  Jesus, thank You for enduring the excruciating

image by 123rf.com

image by 123rf.com

separation and the weight of the world’s sin, for our sake.  Thank You that the story does not end in darkness and death, but we look forward to Sunday, knowing that You alone defeated death and rose again, so that we might come to know new life.  May we recognize the gravity of this day, yet not lose sight of the joy and hope held in You, our overcoming One.  May many come to know You this week, as so many are willing to walk into church and will hear Your word.  Let Your love, light and hope be heard, held and received.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present