Day without hope
This is the black day that some of us want to leave as quickly as we can and head for the white, light joy of Easter morning. And, I suspect that some amongst us enjoy the blackness of the Friday pain because that is how we experience life for the most part. But dwelling on one to the virtual exclusion of the other is a distortion of the Jesus story. Both are part of the whole story; the joy of Easter morning is real only as, and when, the reality of the nails, the crown of thorns and the whipped and ripped flesh is embraced. There is no Easter morn without Good Friday.
There is a lot happening in this story of Good Friday. Powerful forces want to silence Jesus. There was tension between the Roman occupiers and the Jewish authorities. Pontius Pilate had form: he had shown in the past that he was brutal. He would not have hesitated to execute anyone threatening the peace and stability of the Roman province. The Romans were prepared to tolerate people celebrating their religious beliefs as long as it did not threaten peace and civil order.
While Palm Sunday might have been a piece of street theatre that had some element of triumph, Good Friday is a black day. Support for the Jesus movement seems to have evaporated; even his closest disciples abandon him. Jesus seems to have gambled and lost. He took his message of repentance to the city of Jerusalem and now his disciples are scattered and fearful and Jesus is dead. All seems hopeless. I suspect that some of us know what that feels like. To be without hope and to feel that all is lost and so we retreat, away from the cruel world and seek to bind the wounds of our disappointment. That is the reality of Good Friday.