Voices of Faith: Black Friday

Black Friday.

It sounded sinister and somber, like Black September or something similar.

Relief came in learning it is a good day for shoppers finding good deals and retailers operating in the black instead of red in their bottom line.

The phrase reminded me of another Friday that was indeed black with sorrow and suffering.

The ministry of Jesus had shown positive results throughout Palestine. Many of the blind saw, the deaf heard, the mute spoke, and the crippled walked. Dread diseases were healed when the Lord spoke deliverance to the afflicted. Even death was made subservient to the Savior.

His promises of peace and power were received gladly. Teaching truths not heard in a long time or never heard before was what he did consistently. Miracles of many types were done for the needs of the multitudes.

Yet instead of celebrations and parades, opposition arose. Even when Lazarus was raised from the dead after being four days in the tomb, plans for his death as well as for Jesus were made.

That black Friday dawned after the arrest of Jesus. He endured a beating at the hands of Roman soldiers. Pilate, the Roman governor, ordered Jesus whipped, perhaps in an attempt to avoid crucifixion. However, the final verdict was, “Crucify him.” Ironically, a murderer named Barabbas was set free and Jesus, the miracle worker, was sent to the cross.

Two criminals sentenced to the same fate made their way up the hill with Jesus. Roman soldiers performed their terrible tasks efficiently and callously, without a hint of compassion. With spikes they nailed the victims to the cross and then stood them upright. The cries of the suffering joined the sobs of the onlookers.

For six hours they hung there. This “black Friday” was made even darker when the sun didn’t shine for three hours in the middle of the day. The earth shook in an earthquake. These things made the Roman centurion say, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Yet, though this Friday was dark and full of despair, Sunday is coming.

“Black Friday” dominated the thoughts of the disciples of Jesus the next two days. They couldn’t get the image of him dying out of their minds. They didn’t remember his words about rising the third day.

Sunday arrived with startling news. Reports of his resurrection came from several sources; angels, women at the tomb, a pair of disciples, all reported the tomb is empty! Then Jesus appeared to his disciples saying, “Peace be unto you.” He knew the dread that was in their hearts and wanted to calm their fears.

Over a forty-day period he was with his disciples with reassuring presence and more promises. He ascended into heaven and angels appeared, assuring the disciples of his return. His Spirit came on the waiting disciples and they rejoiced in that experience and in the power of his name (Acts 2:38).

What a reason we have for being grateful this Thanksgiving and every season. Not only was there a “black Friday”, there was also a resurrection Sunday!

 

Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling Pentecostal Church located on Swanson River Road and Entrada. Services on Sunday include Bible classes for all ages at 10:00 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. Thursday Bible study is at 7:00 p.m. (sterlingpentecostalchurch.com)

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