IT’S FRIDAY SUNDAY’S COMING!
by Pastor Dan Palomino
As we finish out our Lenten journey this week, having celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, we are now into Passion Week. On Palm Sunday, everything seems wonderful. Jesus is lauded with Hosannahs and praise. But the story takes a drastic turn. The darkness of evil descends to the point of blotting out the sun on that awful, awful Friday (Mark 15:33). Jesus is beaten and whipped, his flesh ripped apart. He’s ridiculed and dehumanized, then nailed to a criminal’s cross, naked and bleeding. So why is Good Friday “good”?
Good Friday reminds us, ironically, that there is evil in this world. But, the story isn’t over yet. Our story isn’t over yet. Evil does NOT have the final say. Death is NOT the end of the story.
In the work that I do as a hospice chaplain, I am constantly reminded that bad things happen this side of heaven. Hospice is end of life care, focusing on symptom management so that the person may be as comfortable and pain-free as possible, thus making their last days more bearable and maintaining their dignity as a human being.
Good Friday stands as a reminder of the truth that bad things happen. Jesus actually warned us, “In this world you will have trouble, tribulation” (John 16:33), but he also reminds us of the hope of Sunday, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” That’s the promise of Easter. Redemption. Resurrection. New Life!
Yes, Friday is here and it’s awful. It’s terrible. But we can say “Thank God it’s Friday!” because we know that Sunday is coming!
The biggest question in the world is summed up in one little, three-letter word: Why?
I hear this question a lot. Why? Why is this happening? If God is such a good God, then why is this happening to my loved one? “Why?” is the unanswerable question. Life on this side of heaven is not fair. We don’t all live to be the same age. We don’t all get treated the same way. We don’t all have the same opportunities. The list is endless.
Honestly, it’s no comfort to me to hear Jesus say, “In this world you will have tribulation.” But thank God Friday is not the end of the story. Sunday’s coming. Easter is coming! “But take heart, for I have overcome the world!”
As a hospice chaplain, I have many opportunities to remind people that, even in the face of death, hope is not lost. In the face of a disease that has gone beyond the point of reversal where there is no hope of a cure, Hope is not lost.
In the dark days of Lent, and on the darkest day, (Good) Friday, when the disciples feel like the wind has been knocked out of them and fear takes over, they scatter, they run. Our temptation is to return to our old ways of life when we think God has let us down, that our Lord has been crucified and lies dead in a grave. But “take heart” because it’s not the end of the story. Sunday is coming. There is the promise of victory, even victory over death!
While Jesus says from the Cross, “It is finished,” the story isn’t yet over. He makes all things NEW! The promise of a new heaven and a new earth in the Book of Revelation is the ultimate Easter of history.
God is ever on his throne. Harkening back to Hebrews 12, Jesus endured the tribulation of this world. He endured the shame of the cross “for the joy set before him” — the promise that Sunday is coming, that he already HAS overcome the world! That promise is already in the Books. It is already reality from God’s eternal vantage point. God gives us total assurance of this as fact.
Jesus does not promise the avoidance of Friday. But he does promise the Victory of Sunday.
Why is Good Friday good? Because it isn’t the end of the story. Resurrection is at hand!