Typically Holy Week (those 7 days prior to Easter) begins on Palm Sunday (sometimes called Passion Sunday). For most folks who aren’t into that churchy thing, it is just the week before Easter and we have to get through the gloom and doom of “Good Friday”! It is true, we do have to go through the death of “Good Friday” to get to the resurrection of “Easter”.
The fact is that we live in a world with death and suffering all around us, it is resurrection that is pretty rare. But it is because of the redemptive action of Good Friday, Jesus’s death on the cross that makes the victory of the resurrection of Easter possible. Not just possible for some, but for everyone. Not just the righteous and the holy, whoever those people are, but all of us from the lowliest sinner to the most vaunted saint, all of us.
Currently the culture we live in today doesn’t talk much about an all-inclusive promise of salvation, rather quite the opposite. Only true believers, only those who are deemed worthy, only those who believe just like us! Yet beginning with the night in which Jesus was betrayed he offers a cup of grace for the forgiveness of sins for all people. That cup of grace made possible because of what would take place only hours later.
Jesus transforms a symbol of death into a promise of life. God makes it possible that through Jesus all might receive the promise of eternal life in paradise. For many this doesn’t seem fair, this is not the way it is supposed to go, what is God thinking, that God would let the rest of us have a chance of eternal joy.
I don’t know about you, but walking around in a dark room, with no hint of light is quite unsettling. It is particularly upsetting if you are there all alone, how do we find the light switch, how do we get out? I had a situation like this happen to me about 30 years ago.
My son had an appointment at Children’s hospital here in Omaha. A couple days before that, they had a huge ice and snow storm, that nearly paralyzed the city. We made it in from Kearney, because it is your kid’s heart, you do what you need to do. The cardiology unit at Children’s was on an upper floor and other than the causeway from “Methodist Hospital” all the examining rooms and waiting room had no windows. I know, you can see what’s coming, that’s right the power went out and everything went totally black, not a bit of light anywhere, not even the emergency lighting went on.
There were some shouts of surprise and one or two screams. Then of course crying from the children. Even when you are being held by someone you know and love, you are still scared. My son asked me; “What are we going to do?” I told him;” “don’t worry, it will be ok.” “How do you know?” he asked, I reached into my briefcase and brought out a mini-light. “This is how we will get out here, follow me.” No kidding this what I said, and two dozen people followed me out of the dark recesses of the cardiology unit into the lighted breezeway. Then a God moment, we hear a nurse from the back of the group; “You can all go home now, just follow the lighted corridors, we will call you later to make another appointment. Don’t worry we will get you all in!”
We are shown the way home. Out of a darkness that on our own we cannot overcome, we don’t have a light to pierce the inky veil, so someone comes to save us. He enters our dark world of death and suffering, through the cross. He takes us all by the hand and says; “Follow me!” But we are still scared, we ask; “How do you know how to get out of here?” The he says to all of us; “I am the light that overcomes the darkness, I am the way out of this place of death!” Now it is Easter and someday we will get to go home to God, don’t worry, Jesus can get us all in!