4/06/2023 at 1:25 pm

The Surprising Suffering of Jesus

By April 6, 2023 No Comments

Shocked by the unexpected suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth, disciples of Jesus gathered in a locked room in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.

What had just happened? 

The previous 24 hours had taken so many unexpected turns that knocked the wind out of them.

Just a day ago, they had all been together, with their rabbi, Jesus, enjoying the Passover meal, commemorating the miraculous exodus of their ancestors from Egyptian oppression. That was the final normal moment, as shocking events filled the whirlwind of the following day.

A betrayal as well as his arrest were bewildering. Watching him suffer was not only disturbing, but also puzzling. They knew he was the Messiah, the long-awaited king whose coming, they concluded, would bring decisive victory over their enemies as had happened in Egypt years before. But He didn’t resist their blows. He silently endured the unjust suffering.

Why was this happening?

After the unjust trials and grotesque torture, then came a humiliating crucifixion. This man’s hands had healed countless people of numerous ailments, and yet those same hands were pinned with nails into wood. This man’s words had brought the dead to life, and yet he hardly spoke as he was slowly dying.

And then it happened. He bowed his head. 

Jesus died.

They saw proof with their own eyes, when he was pierced by a Roman spear.

He was taken down from the cross to be buried.

The disciples made their way to a room and locked themselves inside, devastated and dumbfounded.

How could this have happened?!

And as Jesus’ lifeless body lay motionless in a tomb, so their shattered hope left them immobilized in the locked room that Friday night. 

Like last year, we’re hosting contrasting services on Friday and Sunday.

At our Good Friday service, as we recall the final events preceding Jesus’ death, we’re going to sit in the uncomfortable feeling. Not just metaphorically, but literally sit in discomfort as we sit on the floor of our gym. As the disciples sat together in their pain in a locked room the Friday night following Jesus death, so we are going to sit together in our gym on Good Friday.

As the disciples did, so we also are going to review the surprising suffering of Jesus.

We’ll end the service in silence, keeping the gym a quiet place for further reflection. 

When done reflecting, if you want to chat with others, please do so outside of the building to preserve the quiet reflection space inside.

To make the most of this opportunity: 

  • Come a few minutes early to get settled before the service starts at 7:00 p.m. Enter through gym entrances.
  • Bring a blanket or rug for you/your crew to sit on (chairs available for those unable to sit on the ground)
  • Young families bring items to engage your kids (to foster a quiet/reflective setting)
  • Consider utilizing the nursery room (unstaffed) if your kids need a louder space
  • No livestream, so come in person!

In contrast, come on Easter morning wearing your lively colors as we return to gathering in the auditorium. Look forward to joyous singing, baptisms and hearing words of hope! We’ll celebrate the surprising hope that Jesus is risen indeed! But furthermore we’ll rejoice in a redemption beyond our expectations, the promise of our future resurrection with pleasures forevermore at His right hand. 

I’m looking forward to celebrating this with you: the most important events in human history with the greatest news anyone could ever hear! Everyone is welcome to join. So who are you going to invite to discover this surprising hope with us?

– John Larsen