At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a reed stick so He could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save Him.” Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-54)
Good Friday evokes different feelings from different people. Today’s devotional thought is an excerpt from a sermon by S.M. Lockridge, who was a prominent African-American preacher known for his dynamic sermons, including this one titled “It’s Friday.”
It’s Friday. Jesus is praying. Peter’s a sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Pilate’s struggling. The council is conspiring. The crowd is vilifying. They don’t even know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd. Mary’s crying. Peter is denying. But they don’t know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The Romans beat my Jesus. They robed Him in scarlet. They crowned Him with thorns. But they don’t know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. See Jesus walking to Calvary. His blood dripping. His body stumbling. And His spirit’s burdened. But you see, it’s only Friday. Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The world’s winning. People are sinning. And evil’s grinning.
It’s Friday. The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross. They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross. And then they raise Him up next to criminals. It’s Friday. But let me tell you something – Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The disciples are questioning. What has happened to their King. And the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved. But they don’t know it’s only Friday. Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. He’s hanging on the cross. Feeling forsaken by His Father. Left alone and dying. Can nobody save Him? Oh, it’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The earth trembles. The sky grows dark. My King yields His spirit. It’s Friday.
Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered and Satan’s just laughing.
It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It is only Friday. Sunday is coming!
Prayer: Lord, don’t let me despair on this Good Friday. Help me remember that Easter Sunday is coming.
*Photo courtesy of Wesley Tingey