Good Friday

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It is 5:35. Mary holds Jesus in her arms, his limp body resting on her legs. The others watch in silence.

Good Friday

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It is now 5:25. Joseph comes back up the hill, hurrying as he sees how close the sun is to the horizon.

He tells John and the women, “I have permission from Pilate to take the body. Help me take him down from the cross.”

Joseph hands the soldiers a scroll bearing Pilate’s seal. They open it, and begin the process of hammering out the nails.

When Jesus is loose from the splintered wood, Joseph and John lift him down from the cross. The nails are tossed aside. The women wipe the blood off of Jesus with some strips of linen and water.

The other prisoners are taken down by the soldiers. These two men, now dead, are tossed behind the hill into the grass.

Good Friday

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It is 5:00. The centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion comes up the hill and stares at the three men.

He motions to the soldiers nearby who hurry over. After conferring with him they run back near the crosses where mallets lay.

Together they break the legs of one of the thieves, who screams in agony. The centurion stares at Jesus, takes a spear from another soldier and thrusts it into Jesus side. Thin, watery blood pours out. He had been dead for a while.

The soldiers move to the next thief and break his legs. As the man screams, the centurion turns and walks back towards Jerusalem, passing near where John and the women watch from a distance. He bows his head at their grief.

Good Friday

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It is now 4:35. John is the first to say it. Everyone has known for a while, but they still had hope that something, anything would happen. Did he not heal others?

“Jesus is dead,” he whispers.

The women weep, their tears now quiet as they are overwhelmed with the grief. Joseph of Arimathea leaves the hill and walks back into the city. Some of the pharisees who had stayed as witnesses follow him.

Good Friday

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It is 3:00 in the afternoon, the sky is dark, the wind is blowing wild over the hills.

Jesus hangs on the cross, without expression, limp.

Suddenly, he tilts back his head, his body is wracked with pain. His eyes open wide, seeming to burst out.

He screams, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?!” (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”)

People run over, one with sour wine, hoping to help him, not caring about the Romans.
There is pandemonium in the Temple, the curtain covering the Holy of holies has ripped.

His body tenses, he twists in agony. Then he stills, his body collapses, pulling on the nails in his wrists. He breathes heavy for a moment, then calms. The wind gusts, and stops.

“It is finished,” he whispers.

He lifts his head, looks around, and shouts, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
His shoulders lift with a deep breath, then fall, not moving anymore. The wind picks up.

The Centurion in charge restores some order to the crowd, then says, “Surely this man was the son of God.”

The sacrifice has been made. Jesus is dead.

Good Friday

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It is now 2:00 in the afternoon.

The day is dark, stormy, the wind blows heavy. Most of the mockers have left. Mary stands before her son.

Jesus sees his mother standing there, along with Mary, Clopas’ wife, and Mary Magdalene. John is with them as well.

He speaks, his voice shaky and weak, “Woman, he is your son.”

She cries.

He turns and looks at John, “She is your mother.”

John nods. Women continue to weep.

Good Friday

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It is noon, and it is very dark out. The sun is gone, clouds are thick, the wind blows.

Good Friday

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It is 11:30.

One of the Romans pulls out some dice. They start playing a game, gambling.

A thin, tall soldier wins the best prize, Jesus’ nice clothes. They figure Jesus won’t be needing them anymore.

Good Friday

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It is 11:25.

One of the criminals hanging beside Jesus turns to him, and scoffs, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!”

The other criminal responds, “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”

There is silence for a moment.

Then he says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

Jesus looks at him and says, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The clouds grow thick, the day looks like it is getting darker.

Good Friday

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It is 10:30 am.The leading priests, the teachers of the religious law, and other leaders (the men who arrested and condemned Jesus) come wandering up the hill, making sure their work is finished.

“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the king of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him! He trusted God–let God show his approval by delivering him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God’”

Jesus stared at them from the cross, his wounds bleeding, his strength leaving.

Clouds appear over the hills, on the western horizon.