by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
It’s Good Friday, and we’re all on lock-down. As our quarantine continues and the bad news keeps coming, I see fear on the rise. I am here to help, so I am going to ask you to turn off the news and go on a journey with me of 6,400 miles and 2,000 years. I want to take you to Israel on the night before the first Good Friday.
Upon Jesus’ arrest, He had his first trial at the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas. The next day, He was crucified. The place where Jesus spent His last night was at the back of Caiaphas’ property. It was a pit, dug deep into the stone, with a small, man-sized hole at the top. It was Caiaphas’ dungeon. They had to lower Jesus into that pit with ropes. It would have been cold and dark, full of unbelievable stench and horror. Come the morning of the first Good Friday, they yanked Him out, beat, and crucified Him.
Nowadays, to accommodate tours, they have built stairs where you can go inside the tiny pit where Jesus waited to die. Seared in the stone is the outline of a man with hands pressed against the wall, in a posture of intense prayer. It is believed to have been caused by the power coming off Jesus when He spent His last night on earth praying. But He wasn’t praying for Himself, he was praying for us. He was praying for our redemption.
Last November, when in Israel, we went down into that pit. Amazingly, we could still feel the power of those prayers in that horrible place. We left there shaken and forever changed. That Jesus would willingly do that completely wrecked us. That’s not the kind of God who abandons His people in their time of need.
Brennan Manning said, “Jesus of Nazareth so longed for our trust that He died for the love of it.” Sometimes, when we are 6,400 miles and 2,000 years away from the first Good Friday, it’s easy to forget the depths of His love and sacrifice.
Fortunately, our tour did not end at that pit. The next place we visited was a beautiful garden that had a tomb carved into the rock with a massive stone designed to seal the tomb. The stone was rolled away, and the tomb was empty. Our Savior has risen. Victorious and full of love for us.
So here we are, all these years and miles away, running around on Good Friday wearing face masks, and social distancing ourselves from our Churches and families over Easter. With crazy circumstances like this, it’s easy to forget about that lonely Man in a stone pit. It’s easy to forget the empty tomb. Let’s face it, Easter is not going to feel like Easter without Church and family and ham.
But I want to remind you, the same God who loved you enough to endure what He had to endure to win your heart, will not let you down. He was praying for you back then, and according to Scripture, He is still interceding for you today. Maybe this Easter is the perfect time to slow down and reflect on the depth of His love and sacrifice. So, in closing, I will share the words of Jesus, “Fear not, little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”