A bleak end
On Sunday a man enters Jerusalem. He’s welcomed by a cheering crowd who think that their time has come … this is the man who will lead them as their King of Israel.
But he’s not come to be the sort of King the crowds expect. He isn’t interested in leading a mob to overthrow their rulers. And so the days pass and the crowds drift away, even turn on him.
Finally he is betrayed, arrested and tried, all in the space of a night. And then he’s executed before the crowds can change their mind – stretched out on a cross like a criminal, hanging there in pain until his last gasp of breath is done.
It’s not exactly a story for a warm night in by the fire, is it? There’s no happy ending in sight here – no justice for the murderers, no last-minute reprieve for the condemned innocent. Instead a good man is left to his fate by pretty much everyone who had once claimed him as a friend, a leader. Well maybe there’s just a handful of women still at his side, but then they don’t really have as much to fear as the men do.
But bleak as the story is, it’s fundamental to our faith. This man dies a witness to the love of God, a victim of the failings of us all. And so we will gather on Good Friday, at the foot of Jesus’ cross and once again hear the story of our failings … and of his unquenchable love.