Darkness Came Over the Land
By Brandon Brown
As the life slipped from Jesus on that first Good Friday, the Gospel of Mark tells us that "darkness came over the whole land." (Mk 15:33) Those few disciples who stayed at the cross must have been feeling an incredible feeling of darkness in their hearts. Their teacher and friend, whom they had followed expecting a changed world, was enduring the execution of enemies of the Roman Empire. He was nailed to a Roman cross as a warning to other messiahs and world changers that the might of Rome encompasses all and is the supreme power in the land. This was a humiliation of the lowest type possible. The best comparison those of us in modern America can come to understanding is to recognize the character of the crucifixion as "a first-century lynching" as James Cone describes it. This was state sponsored humiliation.
Other disciples were scattered and hiding with similar thoughts and fears. What if this is all wrong? What if this is not the Christ? How will we go on now that he is gone? Sure, they had been told what would happen, but at the moment it is understandable that they would not believe that nor understand the import of what was happening. This was an unprecedented event, and the disciples were unmoored from their anchor in the one to whom they looked for guidance. I am sure they prayed and cried and doubted as it appeared Rome held the power.
Rather than expect Easter, maybe those of us who know the spoilers coming should wait in the quiet sorrow, grief, and darkness of Good Friday. There is plenty of time for celebration upcoming, but on this day, let us rest uncomfortably in the cross itself. That most foolish of redemption moments.
Now to be sure, the theme of divine foolishness expressed by Paul is found elsewhere in religion. This in itself is not peculiar to Paul’s message. The utter uniqueness of the New Testament gospel is not the foolishness itself, but the linkage of holy foolishness to an actual historical event of government-sponsored torture and public execution — a happening, it must be emphasized, without any spiritual overtones or redeeming religious features. (Fleming Rutledge)
Cone, James H.. The Cross and the Lynching Tree (p. 42). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.
Rutledge, Fleming. The Crucifixion (p. 3). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.