Good Friday

The glorious poem by Charles Wesley, and now a well known Easter hymn, sums up the deep gratitude of those saved by the action of Jesus on the cross of his crucifixion. In todays' ceremonies, we place ourselves at the foot of that cross. There were those few who remained with Jesus right through to his death on that cross, although most of his disciples and apostles had by then run away. One can perhaps get a sense of that bewildered fear when one looks at the four different accounts of who did stay with Jesus to the end:

Women at the cross Matthew 27:55–56
many women ... who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee
Mark 15:40
women ... among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome
Luke 23:49
the women who had followed him from Galilee
John 19:25
his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene

The witness of eyewitnesses is confused when a traumatic event takes place as one will no doubt be aware of when reading press accounts of war atrocities, murders and the like. The Gospels describe a group of women, and only one man (John) staying close to Jesus - it is likely many others did witness the crucifixion but from a distance. We therefore have several different accounts of what Jesus said from the cross - some from traumatised people close by and others from afraid people further back. Mary of Bethany, having anointed Jesus' body earlier, might have helped Mary the mother of Jesus, and the others, retrieve the body, wrapping it and placing it in the tomb. She certainly then watched the tomb - as earlier she must have watched her brother Lazarus' tomb, hoping beyond hope that what she had seen would be overturned.

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom. I sat at your feet and learned from you. You raised my brother from his grave. I anointed you and washed your feet with my own hair. I served you at your last passover.  Jesus, remember me.


  1. And can it be that I should gain
    An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain—
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    • Refrain:
      Amazing love! How can it be,
      That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
  2. ’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
    Who can explore His strange design?
    In vain the firstborn seraph tries
    To sound the depths of love divine.
    ’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more.
  3. He left His Father’s throne above—
    So free, so infinite His grace—
    Emptied Himself of all but love,
    And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
    ’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
    For, O my God, it found out me!
  4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
  5. No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley,   1738

Posted in Daily Reflection.