Dead. There are few words like it. But that’s what he was. Dead. The man who had once brought life to so many, both spiritually and physically. The man who had convinced others to give their lives to God in ways they never thought possible. The man who had promised the coming a new kingdom they would all be a part of, was dead.
Not that most of them were there to see it. All but John had run away, hiding in places in and around the city, waiting to see what would happen, afraid that they were next. They did not want to be next. Did you see the way he screamed when they scourged him? The way he had buckled under the weight of the beam as it dug into his already torn up flesh? The agony with which he cried out when they drove the nails into his hands and feet? These were scenes that anyone who witnessed would not soon be forgetting.
He had said some things, while he hung there, he had said some things. ‘I thirst, Father forgive them, Why have you forsaken me, and there were others, but one stood out above the rest – It is finished. It was finished. The movement, the hope, the belief they had that he had been different than all the rest – it was all over, finished, because they were taking him down off that wretched cross now and he along with everything they had believed in these past three years, was dead.
So often when we tell the story, we skip from the dark night of confusion and betrayal to the joyous morning of life and resurrection. It is a travesty to do so. Real life does not always know the ending that is coming, real pain does not always seem surmountable, real fear is not always so easily stared down. Sometimes we must sit in what wrecks us for a while. Sometimes we feel broken and do not think we will be put back together. Sometimes get knocked down and cannot fathom a way we will ever get back up again. This is how we feel today.
There are no palms today. There is no rest today. No tables will be flipped. No stories will be told. There is no dinner among friends. There are prayers no in the garden. There is no peace. There is no hope. There is no life. Jesus, the Son of man, is dead.