Today is the day we refer to as ‘Good Friday’. The day where we celebrate how Jesus died all those years ago. It seems strange to celebrate a death, especially one so agonising. To stop and recall how one man died on a cross, must seem like foolishness to many. How can a death be a victory? Why do we remember the scars, the hurt, the pain of one man? In part it’s because that cross was meant for us, that death should have been ours. We know the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), our rebellion could never go unpunished by a just God. Today we celebrate that we have been spared, that one perfect man died for us all. We rejoice because we know what came with the dawn of Easter Sunday.
But that first Good Friday, was not one of celebration. Jesus’ friends and family must have thought this was the end, as they watched the man they had loved and followed, die in pain and misery. Surely it was all over? There would have been weeping, shouting and raging at God. Grief raw and consuming, ripping wounds in their hearts. The mother who watched her baby die before her eyes, in the worse way imaginable. The disciples, who believed they were going to liberate the Jews, left with the bitter taste of failure in their mouth; on their own, with no teacher to lead the way. This was where they found themselves before Sunday dawned.
I think for us too there can be times in our lives where we find ourselves waiting before the dawn. Confronted by fear and failure, grief and pain. Waiting for our Saviour to return, but not knowing when He will come. We can feel alone, lost and abandoned. We doubt, we rage, we mourn. As we wait in the darkness of this world, before Jesus returns again in glory. Living before the dawn.
Good Friday will be to many a day full of a mix of emotions. Sorrow tinged with joy. Hope mixed with heart ache. Longing and relief. We can see echoes of so much of our lives in this one day. A day full of emotion and brokenness, so human and yet so far beyond our understanding. A day of darkness with whispers of light to come. We wait before Sunday dawns, waiting for the glorious sun rise bringing with it the wonder of the empty tomb, of Jesus’ return. Sin will be defeated, death will loose it’s sting, we can have new life and hope.
Yet today we wait before the dawn. Maybe you’ve been waiting here for many months. Waiting for the light to break through, for victory and hope to come. Waiting to find that tomb empty; for that loved one to return, or that problem to be defeated. Let me tell you that dawn will come, that night will come to an end, just as it did for the disciples. Know that the war is won, even if you still find yourself in a battle. But today, on this Good Friday, the church around the world will wait with you, waiting together, before the dawn.