Good Friday ….no better way to conclude my thoughts on being visionary then to look closely at Jesus and the story that changed everything. It seems appropriate to fix my eyes on Jesus, to focus on Jesus , who chose to see me, while facing the pain and anguish of his crusifixition and as he breathed his last. The women who were with him ‘watched all that happened from a distance’. Mark includes them in the story as if to invite me to see what they saw. As I lean in and read this story again, I read it from their perspective, their history, their experience. I want to lean in and capture what they captured in this scene, feel their emotions, consider their thoughts, the conversations, the contrasts, the anguish. I want to accept Mark’s invitation to get close to this story …I want to see what they saw. I too can read this story as an observer or, like these women watching, be moved by it and and the power of what is about to unfold. I like them, don’t just see a man I have come to love. I observe and see with the other side of the story in my heart. At this point they are observing this man Jesus on grit side of the resurrection. I get to watch from the other side of the story and with over 2000 years of this story revolutionising people’s lives.
“There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross. The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.
They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him— THE KING OF THE JEWS —was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—but he can’t save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.
At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “ Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? ” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem.
Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.
Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.”
Mark 15:21-47 MSG