"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
Stumbling along a dusty road, the weight of a rough and heavy cross upon his freshly wounded back, head bleeding profusely from a crudely made and mocking crown of thorns, Jesus marched resolutely towards his chosen death. He used His power to endure the Cross rather than choose another way. Joy gave Him courage.
The crowds jeered in contempt and others wept in pain. Disappointment in Him was rampant as many came to the conclusion He was not what they had hoped. His disciples watched horrified as their beloved Jesus and the life they knew marched towards death. Mary stood wide-eyed as she watched the Son of God, her son, stumble under the weight.
Jesus knew with every painful and stumbling step, he was marching towards joy. Every step towards the Cross was a decision we were worth the pain. The future joy of unbroken relationship with us drowned out the jeers and the taunts and gave courage to face a painful death. With every step, He decided we were worth fighting for; we were worth dying for. Through the Cross, humanity would once again be able to united with the Trinity again and even on that dusty, bloody, and imminently painful road, Jesus thought we were worth it.
Maybe this dark and mysteriously named Friday is 'good' afterall. This day was the day He came for. It was the finish line of His well-lived life. This dark day was victory disguised and all of Heaven stood breathlessly as the beloved Son of God ended the reign of death and separation through His own. The temple curtain dividing God and man trembled as the death neared that would rip it in two, forever opening up relationship between God and the common man.
As He hung, slowly dying, His mind was not on Himself or His pain. In His heart, there was no hatred for the jeering faces, for you or me - only love. Love compelled Him to hang, taking the sins of all. Love kept Him there until He uttered His last labored words revealing why He came, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
Suffocating darkness had descended, but light would come.