I don't know about you but Good Friday makes me really sad.
I am sad Jesus had to die to get me to heaven.
I am sad He sweat blood in the garden.
I am sad He suffered so much.
I am sad He got beaten.
I am sad He was crowned with thorns.
I am sad the crowds jeered.
I am sad the stripped him of His clothes.
I am sad they then gambled for them.
I am sad the Apostles fell to pieces.
I am sad He fulfilled all those prophecies.
I am sad.
I generally crawl back home thinking of my own sins and feeling glum and hoping I do better, and lamenting the mess we humans have made of ourselves since the whole apple incident. There is of course one person who was not sad that 'Good' Friday. Any idea of who it was? O.K. I'll give you a hint...
It wasn't the Apostles
Or the disciples
It wasn't any of those nasty solider
It wasn’t Pontius Pilate or Herod
It wasn't the Sanhedrin
It wasn't Peter
It wasn't Barabbas
It wasn't John
It wasn't the Magdalene
It was Mary.
What? How could that be? She just watched her Son be butchered and tortured and laid in a tomb, how could she possibly be anything BUT sad?
Well folks you and I are subject to original sin and so we see this whole story in a completely different light than the Virgin did. Our fallen nature works against us making us unfaithful, skeptical, cynical disbelievers.Even the best of us have this tendency. When Jesus said things to us like "I am the Resurrection and the Life" we kind of shake our heads and say :
"Yah yah, we got that but what about taking over Jerusalem and showing ‘em some muscle?"
We say "yup", roll our eyes and mutter under our breath “wonder what that means? "
When he says "You will see the son of man coming in power" we respond with " Hey-can my sons sit next to you?"
Those types of comments are spoken by fallen mankind.
Thankfully though, Jesus' words didn't fall completely on deaf ears. There was one ringer in the crowd we forget about. Mary. We also tend to attribute all of our 'fallenness' to her and so we assume she was just as devastated the way we all are. Certainly no one was more pained by the death of Christ, no one suffered more the loss of His life, no one had more invested into the Son of Man than His Mother, no one.
But if we really believe Jesus is who he says He is and we really believe Mary bore him as a Virgin ( And honestly once you get past this one, all the other teachings on Mary make perfect sense, fall into place, and are not nearly as hard to get your head around as a virgin birth)
We should recognize that once that last breath leaves His body, once that same lifeless body is lain in the tomb, once that rock is rolled into place- a seed of hope has begun to grow in her heart. Unlike us she does not look backwards reliving the horror of the day she chooses instead to look forward. She anticipates and believes what her Divine Son has said. She takes him at his word and waits for Him knowing it will be on the third day. Why? Because He said so. Lots of times and in lots of ways.(See-faith is supposed to be easy, we just messed that part up too.)
It’s kind of interesting to me that the Gospels don’t talk at all about the meeting between Jesus and Mary Easter morning. I’m sure like me, most of you assume that DID happen at some point. It would be kind of hard to believe he ‘stopped by’ to say hey to Mary Magdalene and the cowardly apostles, and a whole bunch of locals, only to ignore his own mum. What Jewish boy do you know who’d do something like that?
I kind of like to picture that meeting sometime in my meditations. The tomb starts to come into focus at daybreak. Within Jesus ‘wakes’. He sits up. Throws his legs over the side of the rock. Neatly folds the death wrappings placing them gently beside him. He stands and breathes the air deeply back into the same lungs that finally gave way to asphyxiation on the cross a few short days ago. Walking forward he approaches the rock, he reaches for it and touches its rough surface.First he presses against it, and then He steps through it to the other side ; sunlight and warmth fall onto his transfigured face. He closes his eyes and drinks it in. He smells the earth around him feels it as his feet. Birds flit in and out of the trees.All of the Earth bows to worship at His feet. Suddenly from behind and above the tomb entrance he hears a sound.
Turning quickly he sees a warm familiar face perched on the hewn rock he has just exited.
He smiles at her as she whispers
“ I've been waiting all morning”
What a gift Mary is to us Christians. How nice it must have been for Jesus to have one person who really understood His heart.