It’s Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Christ. A few years ago, I wrote a piece about what that day must have been like through the eyes of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
I’ll never forget that night. It was late and I woke up in a cold sweat. I knew something was horribly, horribly wrong. It was like someone was beside me telling me to get up and find Jesus. As I got dressed, I could hear the voice of that old man prophesying to me again about how a sword would pierce my soul.
Have you ever noticed that it’s not usually something happy that draws a crowd? That night there were lots of crowds and lots of anger. I don’t care how many times you read or hear a prophecy. Nothing prepares you to watch your firstborn son bludgeoned beyond recognition. To see him mocked by the same people who couldn’t get close enough to him just a few days before. To see him stumble through the streets of Jerusalem carrying a huge cross when he could barely carry himself.
This was the baby I carried in my womb for nine months. This was the child I walked the floor with countless nights. This was the child whose knee I bandaged and whose tears I kissed away. I wanted God to boom down from the sky and strike them all dead. One word from Jesus and it would be over. With everything I had in me, I willed him to say that one word. I begged God to intervene. I pleaded. I cried. Then Jesus made eye contact with me from across the street. He didn’t say a word, but somehow I knew that this wasn’t going to stop. He was going to keep walking and he was going to let them hang him on that cross and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, and there wasn’t anything his Father would do about it.
I followed him all the way down that road until the bitter end. I was there when he entered the world, and no one would keep me from being with him as he left. Mary and John sat with me, but I really didn’t notice them that much. I did feel God. He sat next to me all that day. I felt his arms around me. I tasted the salt in his tears and we cried together while we watched our son die.
It was only when Jesus said it was finished that I felt God’s anger. The entire world seemed to go dark and the ground shook under our feet. The curtain in the temple was torn in half from the top down. It was like God ripped his own garment and tossed dust on his head in mourning.
Anyone who’s lost a child knows who devastatingly unnatural it feels. All your hopes and dreams and expectations die as well. God gave me a strange sense of hope that can only come from the one who knows the end from the beginning. I finally understood when I saw my son again in the Garden that Sunday morning. The missing piece of the puzzle was in his eyes and his smile.