If I could paint, I would paint a picture of the Lenten trail. I see in my mind’s eye – the lamb of God, holding high the flag of the cross, leading us on toward the summit of our Christian faith. Some of us are weary, some of us are innocent; some with eyes cast down, some with eyes lifted high; some acutely aware of what is to come, and some of us blissfully ignorant.  We will falter on this trail, many of us like Peter, determined not to deny Christ, diligent to follow our Savior wherever he leads. But there comes that moment on the path – when for us the rooster crows, and we know we are undone. We reach the hill of Calvary looking for triumph but watch as the unspeakable speaks. – The cry of the crowd echoes in our broken hearts – “Come down! Save yourself!”  “O Jesus, be the triumphant One, show your power!”

Yet didn’t we know it wasn’t going to be his strength that would save us? Didn’t we hear John say, “Behold the lamb of God?” Doesn’t Isaiah say – “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed?” (Isa 53:5 NAS) Who is this Jesus? This is God? How can this be? A suffering God?

Yet, we look around at each other – recognizing pain when we see it, because we know pain. We know suffering, some more than others. This is the company we keep – whether that pain is on us, or to us, or in us, we walk this trail with suffering kindred spirits. And so, is this not the God we need, one who knows our weaknesses but also knows our sin, yet never having sinned? I read somewhere that people are not saved through Jesus’ miracles, but through his wounds. All of it, our suffering, our wounds, our sin is gathered up into the indestructible love of God. And so, our Christ is a servant who suffered to the very end.

It’s night now – in fact it’s been dark for so long – We heard that last cry of his. It will probably stay with us until the day we die – that cry that mirrored our own – our fears of being forsaken, spoken by the Lamb who was slain for us. We know now why this had to be. We weep. But I think we know this is not final. If all the things he said about dying were true, then the other things must be true too. Could it be so? I don’t think our Lenten trail ends here. An old preacher once said, (actually he yelled it…) “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin!” I leave you with another image of our journey – we’ve followed the Lamb, we’re weary and frightened and a little beat up. But there’s just something about what that old preacher said. And didn’t Jesus tell us this as well? Sigh, c’mon friends. We’ll do it together.