In the rush to Easter we often overlook Good Friday. “Yes, that’s when Jesus was crucified,” we say, “but He rose again.”

Praise God. But let’s not forget that two thousand years ago very few people expected that miracle. Even His closest followers didn’t understand what was happening. Their hope, their Rabbi had been murdered. Their fears and doubts were allowed to grow in what had to be the longest weekend ever.

For the next few weeks I’d like to imagine what we would hear if we spoke to some of the witnesses. Jesus has been taken, but there has been no resurrection. What are they thinking? What are their concerns?

The Disciple, after the dinner

Come in, quickly. I’m afraid you might have been followed. There’s a lot of trouble at the temple. Evil is afoot and I feel like our Master is walking right into it. I’ve never seen him like this before. He was saying good-bye to us, trying to comfort us when it was as plain as day he was bracing himself for some long-dreaded ordeal.

The meal tonight, it was like a Passover seder, but different. First there was the wine – “This is my blood which is shed for many” and then the bread – “This is my body, given for you.” What can that mean? Are we to take Jesus’s blood like the Passover lamb’s and paint it on our doorposts to escape judgment?

Jesus has said many things that I didn’t understand, but this scares me. I don’t want him to sacrifice himself for me. He shouldn’t. How could I take and eat his pain? How can I accept his suffering? I don’t know what it means, but when I see him again, I’m going to refuse. Whatever noble sacrifice he has in mind, I’m not worth it.

Judas’ Mother

Have you heard about my son Judas? You have, I can tell by the way you cringe when I say his name, a name that his father and I chose with pride. Forgive a mother’s ramblings, but I have nothing left besides memories and even they have been tainted. Is this to be my lot, then? To be denied the right to mourn my child?

I look back over the years and wonder where we went wrong. As a child he always appeared faithful. He was loyal to the synagogue and loathed the Romans. We had high expectations for him, never dreaming he’d shame us—that he’d hand over his Rabbi to our enemies.

Thirty pieces of silver. He sold his master for the price of a slave, and he regretted it immediately. If only I had been there when he realized that they’d condemned Jesus to death. Judas returned the money to the priests, but they couldn’t offer him forgiveness. He must have felt he was beyond saving. If only some kind soul would’ve convinced Judas that no one else needed to perish that night, maybe I would’ve been able to hug my boy one last time.

But he’s gone. It’s too late for my son. It’s too late to help him, but I won’t let another opportunity pass. Consider what you’ve deemed more important than Jesus. For what are you willing to trade your master? Think of my Judas and ask yourself – What is keeping me from following my Lord?

The Voices of Good Friday – Part 2

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