The death of Jesus

For most of my life the Easter holiday has been all about Sunday. Well, it’s been all about the palm branches on Palm Sunday and then “Resurrection” Sunday a week later. Oh, and I suppose I have to mention the Cadbury Mini Eggs if I’m going to be honest. Let’s just say that I’m definitely giving up Cadbury Mini Eggs for Lent next year. But, seriously, the older I get the more desire I have to really journey through, as best I can, the final days of Christ’s Passion. I’m learning to pause and take each day carefully and individually.

My natural tendency is to rush through, to think already on Maundy Thursday, “But . . . Sunday’s coming!” While this is true, Resurrection Sunday does not “erase” Friday.  Hans Urs von Balthasar says: “The whole New Testament is unanimous on this point: the Cross and burial of Christ reveal their significance only in the light of the event of Easter, without which there is no Christian faith” (Mysterium Paschale, 189). Indeed, Resurrection Sunday legitimates Friday as the cosmic act of God, but it is crucial to recognize that Sunday does not obliterate the significance of Friday. In other words, Jesus’ resurrection does not render his death as theologically unimportant or unworthy of my contemplation. Not to mention, Sunday is most meaningful when we give Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday the respect they are due.

Serendipitously, a few days ago I came across a review wherein Walter Brueggemann opines that the final three days of Passion (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) “must not be homogenized but must be kept discreet and distinctive, each for its own weightiness” (Walter Brueggemann reviewing Alan E. Lewis’ Between Cross and Resurrection). I think Brueggemann may well be on to something. If you’re like me and you’re theologically inclined to move too quickly from Jesus’ death to His resurrection, perhaps for the rest of the weekend (and God willing, future Lenten seasons) we can focus on experiencing the Passion narrative as it progresses from one event to the next.

This evening imagine Jesus enduring despicable violence. I hear his plea: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” I try to imagine the unimaginable. I think of Jesus–everything that is good, pure, beautiful, and noble being defeated by the evil hideousness of human cruelty. Truth, hope, beauty, all nailed to a cross. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Linger here before the cross; think through its implications again. No matter how many times we’ve done it.

“O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red”
(George Matheson).

What was it like for Jesus’ disciples that dreadful day? They had just eaten a meal with Jesus the night before. They gathered with him to celebrate the Passover, to remember the glorious night when the LORD had delivered Israel from Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm (Exodus 12). Now, at long last, they hoped, Jesus, the long expected Messiah, would deliver them from the hands of the Romans. “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel,” two confounded Jesus followers said on their walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:21). Jesus hadn’t come through for them in the way they expected. He died. How could the Messiah die?

Interestingly, several years after the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the apostle Paul would tell the church in Corinth: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Why so many years after Jesus’ resurrection does Paul wish to know nothing except Christ crucified? Because the cross of Christ changes the way we think about everything. Elizabeth Johnson puts it this way: “the cross turns everything upside down and makes the first last and the last first, the wise foolish and the foolish wise, and even the dead alive” (“Life Together in the Household of God” in Shaking Heaven and Earth,  100).

Likewise, in the book of Revelation, John begins to weep loudly because no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth is worthy to open the scroll (Rev. 5:4). But one of the elders tells him: “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5). And then, John sees; he looks between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders and he sees that the lion has been transformed and now there is a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6). Oh what a beautiful and glorious reversal of imagery; the cross redefines power itself.  Here in the most triumphant of New Testament books, the one who has authority to open the seven seals is a slain lamb. The word of the cross is the power of God! The lion of the tribe of Judah is transformed before John’s very eyes into a slain Lamb.  Jesus’ earthly death, even post-resurrection, remains crucial to his identity as the ruler of all things.

If Jesus’ death remains crucial to his identity as cosmic ruler even after his resurrection and ascension, then we can only conclude that the cross is central, even paradigmatic, for our lives as Jesus followers. This is why Paul can say, among other things: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed . . . always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:8-10). It turns out, manifesting the life of Jesus is directly connected to carrying in our bodies the death of Jesus. Truly, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

We’ve said a few things about Good Friday but let’s also think about the significance of tomorrow, Holy Saturday, when Jesus is dead in the tomb.  We must think about what we’re saying here; we’re saying that God actually died. These are enormous theological claims and they bear immense significance. Faith and hope are non-existent from dawn to dusk. As Alan Lewis says poignantly in regard to Holy Saturday: “death is given time and space to be itself, in all its coldness and helplessness” (Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday, 37). A disquieting thought, right? You know, God could have willed from eternity past that Jesus would be resurrected a fragment of a second after he died on the cross. But He didn’t. Holy Saturday: an entire day when God was presumably absent from the scene and no answers were offered but a mocking, chilling silence. We’re talking here about humankind having literally no hope and no confidence of redemption secured or battles won.

What is flooding your mind and heart this Passion weekend?



125 Responses to “The death of Jesus”

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  1. 51
    Lisa says:

    I read something yesterday about Christ shielding us in His person as he perished on the cross. Suddenly, my mind was overcome with the most startling image: I was sheltered in His arm, shielded from every atrocious attack on Him, as a look of anguish and pure love overtook His face. Never before have I contemplated being protected by Him in such a way; the paradox, to me,is that He held me close at the same time that I, and others just like me, dead in their sin, mocked Him and despised him even unto death. I have never in my life felt such intense love and acceptance as I did in those few moments. Thank you for this reminder to thoughtfully and reverently travel with Him every step of the way instead of simply meeting him on the road to Emmaus, which I admittedly tend to do. Have a blessed Easter, Melissa!

  2. 52

    What comes to mind, Melissa is from a discussion I had with a therapist. The same word that says in scripture, He had not place to rest his head is the same word when he bowed His head on the cross and cried, “It is finished” and rested from His final work here. Also, I find it fascinating to think that every body who is riddled with cancer, heart disease, some kind of an accident that kills and is totally well in the body and healed in heaven. But Jesus still carries the nail scares in His hands! That will never be erased from his body! What a thought!

  3. 53
    Gail says:

    What a way to stir our thoughts! We have always tended to enjoy the anticipation on Palm Sunday, agonize on Good Friday, at least for an hour at the church service, then Saturday is just a preparation for Sunday dinner. I’ve never given Holy Saturday much thought. I would imagine it was a time of much prayer and fasting, even if they weren’t intentionally fasting. A day of stretched faith. Could it have been faith mixed with fear? We believe with all our heart, but now what? What do we do with this silence? Just like we must continue to listen, watch, and feel for His presence when He is seemingly silent. He is still Almighty God.
    I am so grateful for His mercy and love.
    Blessings to you, Melissa! Thanks for writing!

  4. 54
    Kathy B says:

    Oh, our dear, dear resident Miss-Smarty-Pants,
    I just loved hearing this from you! For the first time in my 48yrs, this weekend has been like no other in my life. And I’ve celebrated literally every single Easter in God’s house and with His church. But for reasons not altogether clear to me, these last few days have been poignantly visceral like no others before them.

    I found myself watching the clock yesterday and remembering things like: now He’s before Pilate; being flogged; darkness has overtaken the planet; He’s cried out to the Father, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

    But I believe the words that brought the most tears were from Colossians 2:13-15. “Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross…” Just to think that all of this was going on up on that cross, everything hanging in the balance. You’re absolutely right, Melissa. It’s all deserving of contemplation; quiet thought; focus.

    I, too was wondering what today, Holy Saturday, was like for the disciples. And I believe you hit the nail on the head (no pun intended). Despair: the utter absence of hope. And why did God allow this lapse of time? It certainly wasn’t His lack of attention or lack of concern. Are you reminded of when Jesus delayed his trip to Bethany to resurrect Lazarus? “…so that you may believe” and “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:15, 40 NIV).

    “But hope that is seen is no hope at all.” (Rom 8:24) Does creation groan with us today as it’s Creator lies in a tomb? Just for today.

  5. 55
    Kimberly says:

    Thank you for sharing this post! It really spoke to me and has me pondering in a new way!
    Kimberly from northern Michigan

  6. 56
    Patti says:

    As I was closing the shade to the sliding door last night I became so aware of the brightness of the moon, I glanced at the calendar to confirm it was indeed a full moon and Passover! I knew this but wasn’t fully aware until I seen it in print on the calendar. I stepped back to the window watching that big beautiful moon over the hillside, some soft clouds illuminated in it’s light and I softly whispered “it’s Passover” and began to slightly weep and rejoice in Him for what this night should remind us off. My only son has been gone for almost five years now, but my dear precious grandson was on his way home for the weekend and we have spent many year sharing a “full moon” and making memories. Thank you Lord for your Provision.

  7. 57
    Tanya says:

    Having a form of godliness but denying it’s power. The verse from 1st Timothy. Been on my mind a lot lately. The cross is the power of God. If we claim the cross but deny it’s power then we–I shudder to think really. I’m doomed! Maybe not eternally because I believe that to believe in Jesus is to accept eternal life but I think that we can accept eternal life but deny the life of here and now. And while you or I may be fine with that (well I know I’m not, but that’s because my here and now without a daily–I’m past the moment by moment of when I first accepted the Lord but am not and hope never to be past the day by day–seeking hope and help–I’m MISERABLE!) but beyond ourselves, to deny the Lords power in our NOW life but to claim our belief–this must surely turn so many from the truth that could be theirs! And would I be accountable on that great day to know that someone knew me rejected the Lord–because of, my lack of living by his power in my day-to-day??

    Rambling run on sentences. Hope that made sense. 🙂

  8. 58
    Sarah Sykes says:

    I was struck by the normalcy that seemed to surround me yesterday. God laid this on my heart last night and it seems fitting to share here. Thank you for reminding us that each day of this weekend is significant in its own right. (kind of lengthy–sorry!)

    Not Just Another Friday
    How do you say “thank you” when you’ve been given the world? How do you express emotions for a gift you don’t deserve? How do you look the Father of Creation in the eye, knowing it was for you that He sent His only son to die? This is not just another Friday.

    Any other Friday would be happy and carefree. This one brings me crashing, humbled, to my knees. My life should be over, my death all but complete, but there, above my head, the nails scar his feet.
    My life is not my own; it was bought with a steep price. All the wrong I’ve done caused a mighty sacrifice. My sin, it is forgiven, but somehow I don’t feel free. Today starts the weekend, but this is not just another Friday to me.
    So simple, so small, could I really matter that much? A love poured out with passion–surely, the crowds must have finally settled to a surreal hush. Did they know, could they feel, the weight that was lifted by the blood that was spilled? No, this is not just another Friday.
    This weekend always seems so long. I am crushed. I am broken, when I think of all that I’ve done wrong. The journey to Sunday feels like it will never end. My breath catches because I know–I crucified my friend. Friday’s song is sad and fills me with remorse, but in my bones I know, my life has not lost its course.
    This is not just another Friday. It does not spell defeat. Sunday comes, and Christ will rise. The devil will retreat. My sins have been forgiven. My life has been washed clean. The blood of Christ, His sacrifice, are laid there at my feet. I pick them up and hold them close; they are all that gets me through. Tell me, is this just another Friday to you?

  9. 59
    Redeemed says:

    What fills my mind:
    Crosses, draped in purple, then in sober black, awaiting their brilliant white.
    A silent tomb.
    Raised for my justification.

    “Holy, holy, holy….I am undone.”

  10. 60
    Kayla Moore says:

    Great post! Thank you! Happy Easter!

  11. 61
    Laura says:

    Praying for an unsaved loved one who is coming to stay with us for awhile. Her heart is so open. Praying that this Easter I can say she is my physical AND spiritual sister.

  12. 62
    Mary says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I really loved reading your post and it really made me think about today(Saturday) in a new light. What a gifted student you are of the bible! What a blessing you are to your Mamma and your family. How neat to see God working in your life! Hearing all those stories from your childhood from your Mamma to now see you as a young gifted God loving women. How neat!! Thank you for sharing!
    Mary in PA

  13. 63
    Carola says:

    This year I too have focused more on His willingness to suffer for me than ever before. Maybe it is my own surgery and physical therapy that are making me more aware of it, but when I have a migraine I will do ANYTHING to make the pain stop. Jesus purposefully set His face towards Jerusalem and walked into the suffering and chose the pain because He saw my eternal devastation and wanted to rescue me from it. Amazing. To endure hours of beating, abuse and excruciating pain when in a second He could have stopped it all, crushed His abusers and stood victorious in Heaven — but He chose not to because He loved us, He loves me.
    Along with that has been the thought that Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit lived a sinless life. He chose to live that sinless life for me. Obedience wasn’t any easier for Him than it is for me ( Heb 5:8) . He has given me His Holy Spirit but do I really believe that He empowers me to live the way He empowered Jesus to live? Why not? It is so easy for me to say Jesus was God so He got a ‘free ride’ to living this life, which wasn’t true. He calls me to live as He lived, the way He lived, in fellowship with Him and the Father and empowered by the Holy Spirit. What if I believed it?
    He loves me. I’ve never been so moved by His gift as I am this year –

  14. 64
    Lynn says:

    I had never before thought about Holy Saturday and it’s significance.
    Thank you for bringing this out. Now I have a new focus for my prayers
    and Bible study today. Thank you so much for this blessed enlightenment.

  15. 65
    Georgina says:

    Being in charge of our Sunday school curriculum and loving the kids our God brings into our church, what is flooding my mind and heart this passion weekend is a constant prayer that His little ones will grasp the magnitude of God’s love for them as expressed at the cross. That they will be filled with love and gratitude for Jesus’s sacrifice for them. That they will in their own way internalize and be forever changed for what was done out of love for them.

  16. 66
    WendyBrz says:

    Melissa, can you recommend some good, solid reference readings on what happened between Friday and Sunday? I’m ashamed that I never dwelled in any way but an emotional one on the details…raised in an evangelical church, now married to a Presbyterian pastor, I am finding that there are shades of difference between what I always assumed and what my husband believes. Granted, the outcome is the same, but I’d really like to do further study.

  17. 67
    Kimberly Mason says:

    This Easter season has been unusually special to me. I am not exactly sure why, but i am thankful! Everytime I have heard the Easter story read whether at my children’s preschool or at church it has just washed afresh over me that this is my story, my Jesus, His sacrifice was for me. Not just for me, of course, but I guess I have just had a fresh renewal of affection and appreciation for His death and His sacrifice and I am gratful!

    Also, last night at our church’s Good Friday service a skit was done from the perspective of the angels wanting to rush in and save Jesus and the struggle they faced with obeying God’s command to do nothing. It was very interesting.

    Happy Easter everyone!
    Love, Kimberly

  18. 68
    Kathy says:

    Maundy Thursday caught me by surprise this year. I usually attend the Maundy Thurs. service at my Episcopal Church. It is very touching. However,I have not participated in the washing of the feet ceremony until last night. The Eucharist follows the washing of the feet.

    After the passage was read that Jesus must wash our feet and then we are called to do the same for each other- I felt very called to participate before the Lord’s supper.

    As I washed my fellow parish member’s feet, I felt such a compassion and love for this unknown sister in Christ. She had a large knot of some sort in her arch area- the Lord passed through me to wash and wrap that foot with the love of Christ- I can tell you it was not ME but Christ through me- I’m not sure I am that gentle and caring within my own nature

    This has been the most drought filled year of my life for many reasons- not the most difficult- however, there have been no life giving “rains” and all appears dead, hopeless and life less.

    A tree I happened to pray for blossomed unexpectedly this past week- I try to keep those unexpected green blossoms in my mind and heart as a symbol of what our Lord can and wants to do in our lives.

    Thank you Melissa for such a wonderful post. You are very gifted and your young brilliant perspective always encourages me. Love to you and yours

  19. 69
    Timi says:

    Thank you immensely for writing this – such a true blessing! It was very enlightening, & i see Holy Saturday in a whole new way. I have much new insight on the cross of Christ, too. Thank you!

  20. 70
    Joy French says:


    Thank you for sharing – It made me stop my busy day and really reflect on great truths of what our Easter Celebration is really all about.

  21. 71
    Pamela Sue says:

    It is a cold, rainy, dreary day here in MN. The outdoor Easter egg hunts are suffering. We are in agony waiting and hoping for a better tomorrow. Seems appropriate somehow.

  22. 72
    Joyce Watson says:

    Have a Blessed Easter! Thank you for sharing your thoughts this wonderful day in the Lord.
    I like to write and so I share this poem with all of you:

    Master who calmed the sea,

    Who died and gave us life eternally

    How great You are

    How mighty and powerful is Your love,

    That lives through us even today,

    And calms the soul to rest

    That leads and guides the way.

    You have faced the dangers of life,

    And conquered death beyond the grave,

    You have healed the sick and given to the poor,

    Given us Yourself and life forevermore.

    The angels in Heaven shout Your very Name,

    Living glory that still remains

    That wipes away sin and human pain,

    You live forever, Master who calmed the sea,

    Always there for you and me. ~joyce
    Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts. He wants to roll away the hardness of each heart. He tells us to Come, do not be afraid. You seek Jesus and indeed you will find Him and you will have great joy!…run, to Jesus and He will bring you His Word of Joy.
    You see we deceive ourselves when we think we can guard our own hearts, go our own way and feel secure in our own selfishness. Just like they tried to guard Jesus’ tomb.
    Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. he is the One who guards our hearts, it is His way we need to follow, and it is in Him we find our security and we are set free. The tomb is empty, so is our lives without Christ.
    Jesus appeared different, changed, transformed after he was raised. We too are changed in the inside. We are redeemed, santified, and our apearance is different, because of Jesus living in our hearts. Our lives have meaning and purpose. He is our Savior and Lord! Praise His Holy Name! For He is Great and Mighty. Worship Him in love and truth! <3

  23. 73
    Jean Johnson says:

    My heart was very heavy yesterday as I thought about Christ on the cross. All I could think of was Psalm 51:3. “For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.” My sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross. Yet He died for me. I am so unworthy. I also was thinking of how confused the disciples and the women must have been as they saw the dead body of their Lord. The One who came to overcome the world, laid in a tomb. We are fortunate to have the Scriptures to know what happened next. Waiting anxiously to say, “HE IS RISEN!” tomorrow.

  24. 74
    Janet from FL says:

    Great to read your reflections on Easter/Good Friday and Saturday, Melissa. It seems that I learn something new each Easter. It never stays exactly the same. I have been reflecting on your question about how the disciples would have spent Saturday after Christ died, and how we can reflect on Saturday, waiting to celebrate on Sunday. Saturday was the Jewish sabbath day, so they did not work that day, and so I would think that most of the Jews were at home quietly contemplating. They may also have been hiding, out of fear, sadness, confusion… We know what Easter brings, and I think God wants us to celebrate, not just on Easter, but on every day. We have been redeemed, washed clean, forgiven, so when we take communion this Easter, let us reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus as he asks us to remember Him, but also let us rejoice that we are free from the death of sin today and every day, thanks be to God. I hope we can all find delight in this Easter, as it is a joyful gift from God!

  25. 75
    Angie says:

    I’ve often wondered if the reason Jesus waited until Sunday had anything to do with the Sabbath. It can’t be a coincidence that they took Jesus off the cross at the beginning of the Sabbath. Been thinking on that for years.

  26. 76
    Texas in the Mountain says:

    Hmm, flooding my heart and mind?
    I really desire to understand the New Testament and how it coincides with the Old Testament.
    Last week, my group finished “Jesus, the One and Only”. How great to end the week before Easter! But two things have me perplexed.
    1. During the last supper, did he drink from the 3rd cup? Or did he ‘drink’ from it on the cross?
    2. Jesus said “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
    Three days AND three nights. Of course I realize we have ‘Americanized’ Easter to fit into our 3 day weekend schedule; but Jesus was resurrected on the third day. What about the 3rd night?
    After completing the study, I am shokingly aware of the brutality that Jesus was subjected to. Not just one beating, but many.
    I am so sad. And so happy, yet somberly so.
    I pray to always hold this truth with me, and never trivialize it.

    Last night we visited a new church that had a powerful silhouette drama. It was really beautiful, but it ended with the resurrection of Jesus. I wanted to stand up and shout “NO! Not yet, it’s too soon!” Did I mention that I was a guest at the church? 🙂

  27. 77
    FloridaLizzie says:

    Thank you for your post, Melissa, as it seems too many things keep us from really THINKING about the days that led up to Easter. On Tuesday our Bible Study group just finished the “James: Mercy Triumphs” study and I was very struck by the way things ended really “messy” for the family members and followers of Jesus when he was suddenly arrested and crucified. That was my meditation this week, just before my husband’s estranged sister died suddenly Thursday. It has caused me to ponder how the disciples and family of Jesus must have felt — that this is not the way things were supposed to work out. . . only on a much larger scale than we are feeling. It has never stopped giving me hope to realize that there can only be the joy of a resurrection because a death has taken place.

    Melissa, would you mind considering one concept in your last paragraph? Years ago a theologian friend involved us in a lively discussion over the question: Did God die on the cross? We came to the conclusion that yes, God the Son died on the cross, but it would not be correct to say God the Father died on that day. God is eternal, and He raised Christ from the dead. We had to really think our way through which Person or Persons of the Trinity died. Just thought it’s worth mentioning that this can be a confusing issue for many people, and it’s a good concept to work through in Scripture.

  28. 78
    Robinmac23 says:

    This year, I too have really been thinking about the Saturday before Easter. What a long, tremendously sad day that must have been. I cannot imagine the pain and hurt that Christ followers must have been feeling. The day surely moved in slow motion … every second slowly ticking away ….

  29. 79
    Diane Bailey says:

    I love your writing, Melissa.

    I am thinking about how he was lied about and abandoned by friends who knew him so well. He had done so many good and kind things for so many and no one stood up for him. Then I have to step back and look at myself. Where do I call him a liar? When I don’t believe his word in my life? Where do I miss opportunities to stand up for him, for my faith ?

    I am so thankful for his faithfulness, mercy and grace. His love is greater than anything I’ve ever known.

  30. 80
    Marci Turner says:

    I really enjoyed reading this because it reminded me that it is very important to ponder on what Jesus did completely. Most people only think of Palm Sunday and many more just him being raised from the dead. It counts to recall the total commitment Jesus made for man, especially after reading the scriptures listed from Revelation. Thanks for the great post.

  31. 81
    Andrea S says:

    This lenten season has been one of a change in perspective and dare I say heart for me. I find God peeling back layers of my eyes to see things in a new light. This year our church broke from its mold of lenten dramas, and did a new series of lenten dramas that has left me grateful. I remember one scene where Peter is absolutely crushed after he realizes that he denied Christ three times…what would it have been like to be him in that moment? The fear, the despair, the hopelessness….

    The other day while I was shopping, I overheard 2 little boys ask their mom if they were going to get Easter baskets this year. And she turned and she looked at them and she said “I don’t believe you need a basket full of candy because Jesus turned into a Zombie.” My mouth hit the floor and I so wish I could have been poised enough to respond to that mom and those boys with the TRUTH of Jesus ALIVE. But instead I struggled with that comment for weeks…it has rocked me…it has moved me…it has brought up conversation. Is that what our world sees this Easter season…or are we bold enough to say “JESUS IS ALIVE!?!” To speak His truth to a broken, wounded, LOST world?!

    And then last night, at our Good Friday drama….the thought (and sounds) of Our JESUS being beaten and whipped…broke my heart for a thousand reasons. Oh, Lord that I could remember YOUR suffering in my own suffering. Oh Lord, that I could remember YOUR suffering in my own sin and unforgiveness. There was a sweet little girl in front of me, about 8 or 9 years old, eyes wide open, tears streaming down her face….and she looked back at me after the service at my tear stained face and there was just this passing of understanding…she got it…she got the cost of her sin as Jesus’ suffering on that cross…what a beautiful moment.

    I think today of the silence…how hopeless the world must have seemed….and we prepare of the Risen Lord on Easter morn. But, let us never forget the cost of our sin, nor the silence that followed the death on the cross…

    In Him,

  32. 82
    suey caldwell says:

    hi Melissa, Bethy Amanda, what is on my mind?
    that you are a poet and dont know it. haha

    I worked on Wed all day and they had an 81 year old lady
    who was walking her dog and a copper head snake bit her
    and i helped pray over her and i never want to see someone leg tripled in size from a snake bite again.
    bc i have been awake for 24 hours and went to ER today
    and they gave me a valium for sleeping good.
    i cut my hair off at a cute hair place.
    Jesus Jesus bless you
    thanks for asking
    Suey Caldwell

  33. 83
    Mitzi says:

    Very well written Melissa. I enjoyed lingering on each day this week too. Maybe next Lenten season you can write a daily devotional for us. 🙂 He is risen! He is risen indeed!

  34. 84
    Laura says:

    Thank you for your post. I have been thinking about Saturday as a holy day and how the disciples must have sat up in the upper room and wondered, “Is this what He meant? What did it say in Isaiah?” And on and on, trying to figure Jesus out.
    I also had an awe inspiring thought walking home from my church after the Maundy Thursday service a couple of nights ago and that was to think of Jesus alone after the last supper and the moments before His arrest. How did He feel then?
    My heart breaks at all the times I have turned from Him in my life and I am thankful the tomb was empty!

  35. 85
    Laura Stuart says:

    A few mornings ago on my way to run errands, a thought came to me that was almost visual in its intensity. And that was my imagination of the reunion of Jesus Christ with His Father, and the Father with His beloved Son. Mission accomplished. Joy between them that we cannot begin to imagine. I still sob to consider it.

  36. 86
    Jennifer T says:

    Melissa – as I write this it is 2am EASTER our time, but I’m not going to officially cheer until the little ones get up in about 5 hours. I snuck in snippets of your post Friday night and Saturday morning as I was able to peel myself away from these busy little blessings I live with. I’m so grateful that, in light of the strangeness this year of NOT attending a Children’s Good Friday Service (unique reasons within our church this year that it wasn’t held), several opportunities to quiet and reflect were presented. Your blog post was def one of them.
    I found myself just simply re-telling the Friday and Saturday story with my kids – noting the time to them at 3pm Friday… wondering with them what it must have felt like to be a disciple on Saturday. My 10yr old decided it was the “NOW WHAT” that must have felt awful on top of just grief. I had them watch a cartoon version of the Passion on Friday after egg-dying with buddies and when I asked same 10yr old the next day what he thought of the video, he answered “Good. I didn’t want to cry in front of my friend.” I asked what part made him want to cry and he answered “the part where they beat him and stuff.” I told my boy that just hearing him say that made me want to cry, too.
    The kids and I are so glad to know the rest of the story and not have to live in the aching “NOW WHAT-NESS” of those first believers!
    Don’t know if/when you’ll read this, but dawn will likely have cracked with a joyous HE IS RISEN! by then.
    EASTER BLESSINGS to you, Melissa! And to BTSPTB, the staff and all you amazing Siestas!!

  37. 87
    rosella says:

    Amen Jesus is alive! I want to Thank you and your famliy for keep Jesus Alive in the world all you and your mother do.

  38. 88
    Denise Wilkin says:


    Your blog helped me to truly think about the silence of Saturday for the disciples and believers. I too would consider and spend time on the sacrifice and the resurrection. It spoke very much to me and so I thank you for your words. Today is Sunday and I rejoice with all of you that He made such an amazing sacrifice for you and me! Rejoicing!

  39. 89
    jenn nahrstadt says:

    like you, melissa, i’ve spent most of my life as a Christian wanting to skip over the harsh realities of Good Friday to get to Easter. this year, Good Friday was a struggle from morning til night, and i don’t think i prevailed the way my Lord did, even though i called upon Him. Saturday was a somber day as well, and now having read your essay, i have some sense as to why.

    thanks for these thoughts; write more! perhaps an entire series next year for holy week? i love how God has wired your mind.

  40. 90
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    What is flooding my heart and mind this weekend? I want it to be scripture and good, true, and praiseworthy thoughts…we went camping this weekend, and came back yesterday. I have been trying to get starting on memorizing scripture that would be really helpful for me to know. I have been trying to dwell on the fact that I am free indeed, that I am a chosen lady in Christ (thank you Mama Beth for telling us that, it has been so helpful to me), and thinking on what it means to have faith like a child…You know when you are baptized, sometimes they say, “Buried with Him in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life”? That reminds me of Easter too.

  41. 91
    Katherine says:

    Dear Melissa:

    Thank you for the beautiful post. I became a Christian with a capital “C” just last summer after being a Catholic for more than forty years. The change was very necessary, but it has not been an easy one. This Easter has been difficult for me . . . until I read your post which spoke of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Thank you, too, for the wonderful quotation from Hans Urs von Balthasar.

    I see so little attention paid to the suffering of Jesus in our Baptist Church. I work at another Baptist Church where Good Friday went unmentioned. At my son’s house on Holy Saturday (any other former Catholics out there miss the glorious Holy Saturday Vigil service?), we had dinner and then a seder (spelling?) meal with my grandchildren, which was lovely. My son has now been a born-again Christian for several years . . . he was never a practicing Catholic. After the meal, we watched “The Passion of the Christ.” It was the first time I had seen it because I was always afraid to watch it in the past. I thought it would be better to have my son and lovely daughter-in-law with me. Still, I found the movie deeply disturbing not because of the suffering it portrayed–as a Catholic I was very familiar with The Way of the Cross–but because of the reminders in the movie of very Catholic things: the presence of Jesus’ mother, the establishment of Holy Communion on Holy Thursday, even the image of Jesus’ face as it appeared on Veronica’s veil. I wept openly, but did not dare tell my son and his wife my true reasons for crying.

    After the movie, my son, whom I love with all my heart, said he thought most Christians made too much of the sufferings of Jesus. He said we should just concentrate on the fact that He died to save us. I was aghast! Have we become so hardened that we do not shed a tear at the horrible suffering Our Lord took upon Himself for our salvation?

    Thank you, Melissa, for letting me speak my heart. I am just finishing your mother’s wonderful teaching on James to which your comments add so much. God bless and keep you both. I hope you had a very Blessed Easter!


  42. 92
    Jennifer D. says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I became so excited when I saw that you were the author for this post. (No offense Beth – I adore your posts and all that come from Living Proof!) With that said, you have such a gift for writing and I appreciate your views! You always take us into the deep and describe what other texts/authors have to say. I always feel smarter after reading your works. 🙂


  43. 93
    Melissa Ford says:

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this post. It’s hard to make ourselves have to “feel” what it must have felt like those days leading up to His death and after but… you are right on.

  44. 94
    Debra says:

    Like many of you, this lenten season was like a lightbulb finally going off in my life. For the first time ever, I pushed myself to spend more time in church and in the word. As a lay reader and altar guild member, I assisted with 9 services during the month of march, some of them being double duty as I performed both my lay reader and altar guild duties. I assisted with 2 back to back funerals. I spent time examining my life. I gave up worry for lent, because despite my love for chocolate and all things buttery and sweet, it is that worry and obsession that I cling to like velcro. I participated in all parts of the holy week … maundy thursday, good friday, decorating the church on holy saturday, sat in on a first communion instruction session (was great to get a refresher on why we do what we do ….), even went to confession. I pondered what life would be like if Jesus had exercised his free will instead of God’s will for his life … actually HEARD parts of the scripture for the first time with respect to how brutally Jesus was beaten … still can’t get the song from the Garden of Gethsemene that Jesus sang in Jesus Christ Superstar out of my head (which has been coming and going for nearly a year now …)…

    It was not just another Friday, or Saturday or Sunday … I felt things this year that I’ve never felt before. And for this, I am grateful. I am grateful to know of the gravity of the sacrifice made for me. I feel empowered to live my life differently and in a way that does not make light of that sacrifice … to love others, even if they’re not capable of loving back … just as He did …

  45. 95
    Karen Bradley says:

    Each year since 1994, I’ve read Max Lucado’s “The Final Week of Jesus”. It really makes Holy Week come alive even more to me.

  46. 96
    Jennifer says:

    Beautifully stated, Melissa. As glorious as Resurrection Day is, Thursday, Friday and Saturday call for contemplation and sober-mindedness. I am sad to say I was wrapped up in my own life prior to Sunday to truly give Him that honor. He suffered greatly at our expense. He doesn’t want us to forget it or to dismiss it. Then, and only then, can we celebrate His resurrection with true joy and appreciation! Thank you for sharing. It was a word for me. Now, it’s time for me to contemplate on his suffering and death so that I can honestly celebrate My Risen Savior.

    • 96.1
      Jennifer says:

      And I just remembered that the Sabbath was Saturday, not Sunday! See, it takes me a while, but I finally get it!

  47. 97
    moongirl says:

    Melissa, I love your posts and articles (in James)! I have a 4 year degree in Graphic Design, and am a wife and mom of two little boys, and God has just called me to go back to school, to a seminary. I’ve been taking my first class, “Foundations of Christian Thought” with a new infant school affiliated with Moody and am thrilled beyond belief to be learning what we are learning. Survey and OT and NT coming in the fall. To I’m not sure what capacity, I know God is calling me to teach and is training me for it. And with this new direction in my personal life, I have to say I am even more in love with the work you are doing and reading your articles. This was beautiful as always. I love how you pointed us to not forget Good Friday and Holy Saturday! Amen!! And I absolutely loved the work you did for ‘Mercy Triumphs’!! It TRULY stepped up the learning level. The studies are always phenomenal!! I LOVE your mom’s work!!!! And I LOVE your mom!!! (Love you Beth!!) But I loved seeing you two join forces too! And how we could take it up even another level too! Bravo!! And please keep sinking yourself into this work! Have you read Gal 6:4-5 out of the Message? 2 Timothy 2:15 makes me think of you too (not nec. out of MSG). Thank you again Melissa!!! You bring Him MUCH glory!!

  48. 98
    Cyndy says:

    Wow – thank you for this reflection. I am still trying to “digest” an Easter filled with a lot of distractions. I especially liked your thoughts about the power of the lamb slain and Christ’s post-resurruction identity. Lots to chew on (even better than cream eggs).

  49. 99
    Sherry says:

    After a whirlwind of Easter celebrations at church, family Easter time and some family birthdays, I have finally found a moment to sit down to read this wonderful post! The passage you referred to in Rev. 5:4-6 has been forever branded on my heart. It tells us that Christ, the Lion and the Lamb, is the only one with the authority to open the scrolls of the universe. The scrolls are placed in His hands to open. These are the same hands in which I place my life, my cares, my burdens and needs.
    When the Lord illuminated these verses to me, He emphasized that His hands were the only
    found worthy, yet his children are reluctant to give up their cares and burdens to Him. How it
    must break his heart to watch us struggle our way through life burdened down and defeated while He is standing with arms and hands outstretched ready to take them from us; to carry the load and make all things right.
    These 3 verses have totally changed my approach to trials and tests that come my way. I endeavor to quickly relinquish them to Him and then stand in praise and thanksgiving that He is indeed the Authority, my Source and the Answer to all My needs and concerns. I never again want to be found guilty of acting as if God were not trustworthy by hesitating to place my life and all that it encompasses in His worthy and authoritative Hands.
    Thank you for taking the time to share with us.


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