The Good Friday story, taken apart from Easter, helps us grapple with God’s apparent failures. Israel’s situation was dire. They could only keep the faith because they believed God would soon send a king to save them. But Jesus’ disciples understood that Jesus was God’s promised king. They believed in their bones that Jesus was going to save their nation. And then the religious and political authorities condemned and killed him. While it was undoubtedly a personal tragedy for the disciples, it was also a theological one. If God’s king was going to be the one to deliver the people, then their hope died with him.
Jesus had warned hid disciples all this was coming. Mark’s gospel records three times when Jesus predicted his rejection, execution and resurrection. The disciples just couldn’t believe it. Their experience mirrors our own. While we profess to live in a new age, one where God has already won the victory over sin, our experiences may suggest otherwise. Just as Jesus’ disciples struggled to believe that God’s plan was on track on Good Friday, so we may struggle to believe that God is in control today. In this way, Good Friday is a metaphor for the age in which we live. God has promised that everything will work out. Our hopes may seem dead and buried, but Sunday is coming.