If you were writing a story of victory, how would it go?
Would you have a hero and a villain? Would you highlight noble character shining through impossible circumstances? Would you include a fight for what’s good and right? Would you give it a good ending?
We long for stories like these. In all our work and play and surviving, we strive for the fiction of such stories to become our reality. We want our life stories to turn out right in the end, for things to be set straight for us and all those we love.
Stories draw us in because we are wired for them, for the drama and the intrigue and the fairy tale ending. The God who created all things is a story-telling God, the Author of history, which is really the fullness of His-story unfolding over the course of time. He writes in countless characters who contribute to the telling, adding to the tale, and He somehow weaves it all together, continuing to guide this story to its appointed conclusion.
This Master Storyteller even wrote Himself into the plot line, taking on flesh and blood in the God-Man Jesus. Many thought His appearing would usher in an earthly kingdom with a powerful reign.
On a cross one Friday night, on a hill in Jerusalem, Jesus suffered and died. Though it was scandalous, brutal, and grotesque, there was something beautiful about His death. With open arms, He offered His life to grant us all the love, acceptance, and forgiveness we need. Instead of God punishing the whole world for sin, Jesus took on the wrath in full on our behalf. This innocent Man died for crimes He did not commit. But His death meant more than His executioners could have ever imagined. By His death, Jesus was providing the perfect, spotless sacrifice for the crimes of Humanity. He died, and all of Creation reacted—the earth quaked, the sky grew dark. The Promise Kept, the God-Man, had breathed His last breath. —The Story Guide Primer Edition, Spread Truth
How could this be the story God meant to tell? How could Jesus—the one who offered people forgiveness of sin, set people free to trust God’s heart, worked miracles, spoke with authority and kindness, fought for the oppressed and downtrodden, drew crowds of thousands, and brought people back from the grave—be dead?
Friday is a day of pain, sorrow, confusion. Friday is when we remember Jesus, embracing a death He didn’t deserve. Friday is a day of loss and breath-stealing despair.
Here we wait, as the Lord’s followers did, wondering what was next now that all hope had been buried in the tomb with the One they thought was the Messiah.
But Friday is not the end of the story.