As we start Good Friday, we stand in the shadow of the cross.
Jesus has served the Last Supper, and He has taught His Disciples His Commandment to love one another.
Judas has betrayed him for silver coins.
Jesus has gone to the garden, distressed about the trials He knows He has to face.
The soldiers have come, Judas has kissed him on the cheek, and they have arrested Him.
He has been mocked and scorned for His teachings by the church leaders who will turn him over to the Roman authorities to be killed.
What remains for today is unthinkable... scourging, the crown of thorns, and He will be condemned to die.
He will be made to carry his own cross to Golgatha alongside common criminals to be crucified.
And finally this afternoon, He will be nailed to the sky for all to condemn as He draws His final breaths as a man on the cross.
Then as all the worshipers have left him to die, He will forgive His captors, and commend His spirit to God.
In the middle of the afternoon, they will verify his death with the spear. The sky itself will fall into darkness and the stones WILL cry out as they heave and tear apart the temple's curtain.
The people who love him will sit in the shadow of the cross as their teacher, their healer, their God-among-them suffers and is extinguished - seemingly gone from them forever.
The earth returns to the darkness of hopelessness. And fear and uncertainty seem to have won again.
Can you relate at all? Do you feel alone? Have you suffered loss, fear, pain, or sickness? Are you waiting in uncertainty for something you expected?
The shadow of the cross is for you. The shadow of the cross is for me. Regardless of how great we suffer, Jesus has been there too. The worst we can face will not ever be worse than what He has faced.
And the Good News is ...
the story IS NOT OVER. Your story, our story, His story... is not over.