“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46, NIV).
It was Friday and Jesus was dead. Some who knew him best were witnesses to the final faint breaths of their friend. They were heartbroken and confused and left to ask, “What would happen now that Jesus was gone?”
Mary Magdalene was there. Jesus had saved her from a spiritual bout with seven demons, dark forces that tormented her mind, body, and soul. She had had other “demons” as well, many of them of her own making. But Jesus had rescued her. He had befriended her. And she had followed Jesus all the way to the cross. But now it was over. Jesus’ body hang motionless just feet from where she stood. Her tears mixed with the rain that had begun to fall. With this brutal crucifixion, hope for her was gone. Her future, once so bright, was now darkened, just like the skies above. Now, if her “demons” returned, there would be no rescue.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was also there. Even the torturous device of the cross could not break the bond of mother and child. Jesus, his body bloodied and bruised, beaten and broken, was barely recognizable, even to her. With such cruel irony, an aging mother would have to bury her own son and live out her days in loneliness. Jesus’ friend, John would now take care of Mary, but life wouldn’t be the same without Jesus.
There were others who stood bewildered and afraid in the shadows of Jesus’ cross. Most of his friends, however, hid elsewhere in the shadows of the day. Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus, may have witnessed the crucifixion in private, but would not dare be recognized publicly. The other disciples were nowhere to be seen, fearing that they might be the next to be tortured and killed. Then there was Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus. His body hang from another tree. Sadly, he had taken his own life, unable to forgive himself for what he had done.
With Jesus’ death, all was lost. The disciples, in a best-case scenario, would live the remainder of their lives in relative obscurity. In the worst case, they would live their lives in hiding, never knowing when they might be the next to be captured and killed. Not that it mattered, for there was nothing worth living for. Hope had died along with Jesus.
Then came Sunday…