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Commemorating Holy Week: Good Friday

18 Apr

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Photo by dhester on Morgue File.

Friday: (Mt. 26.47-56, Mk. 14. 43-52, Lk. 22.47-53, Jn. 18.2-12—Judas betrays Christ and Jesus is arrested: Jn. 18.13-14, 19-24—Jesus is brought before Annas: Mt. 26.57-68, Mk. 14.53-65—Jesus is brought before Caiaphas, the high priest and the Sanhedrin: Mt. 26.69-75, Mk. 14.66-72, Lk. 22.55-62, Jn. 18.15-18, 25-27—Peter denies Christ: Mt. 27.1-2, Mk. 15.1, Lk. 22.66-71—Jesus is tried before the Sanhedrin and is sent to Pontius Pilate: Mt. 27.3-10—Judas hangs himself: Mt. 27.11-14, Mk. 15.2-5, Lk. 23.1-7—Jesus is brought before Pilate and then sent to Herod: Lk. 23.6-12—Jesus is brought before Herod and then sent back to Pilate: Mt. 27.15-26, Mk. 15.6-15, Lk. 23.13-25, Jn. 18.28-19.16—Jesus is brought before Pilate a second time, questioned by Pilate and condemned to death: Mt. 27.27-54, Mk. 15.16-39, Lk. 23.26-49, Jn. 19.16-37—Jesus is crucified between two thieves, he is crucified around 9am and will remain on the cross six hours until 3pm when he dies.)

Context:

                We come at last to the day of execution. We call it Good Friday. Many have asked, why we would call this Friday good? How can we call the day that Jesus was horribly beaten and crucified good? It does seem an odd adjective at first. It does not seem to fit the events of that day. Perhaps we feel that others would be more appropriate, such as: Black Friday or Sad Friday or the like.

Why then is it called good? While the acts of scourging, beating and crucifying are hardly good, their effects are. It is good because on this day Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. He gave his life, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, so that we could live. We should remember that the sin of the world includes our sin.

It is hard for us to understand why the brutality of the cross was needed. Why did Jesus have to die such an agonizing death? The cross is a disturbing image, a haunting reality. Perhaps its brutality had to match, in some small way, the seriousness of sin. Sin had to be dealt with and defeated.

When Jesus taught his disciples that in order to be his followers they had to take up their crosses and follow him, this is the scene they would have envisioned. It would not have been a pleasant thought at all in their minds. For us, we tend to think of the cross as those pendants we see hanging from someone’s neck. Our crosses are gold and silver. They are carefully planed and sanded beams of wood.   Not so for the disciples . . . not so for Jesus.

The cross Jesus died on was anything but ornamental. It was ugly and rough. It was coarse and hard. Rugged with splinters and stained by blood, it was ominous—an instrument of suffering and death. It knew no mercy. It had no sympathy. It was designed for one thing, and one thing alone, to kill its victim in the most painful, agonizing way possible.

This is what Jesus experienced this Good Friday morning. He gave his life freely, to be nailed to an old, rugged cross. He was hoisted between heaven and earth, so as to draw all men unto himself. For all who will look to him, believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that he is Lord and God, they shall be miraculously saved.

Application:

                As you meditate on Jesus hanging painfully on that cross, what does your heart feel? Sadness I know is one such emotion. But, we must remember, Jesus did not endure the pains of the cross to be pitied. He did it to bring life and victory to all those who would believe in him. While it is natural for you to experience feelings of sorrow and sadness when meditating on the cross, remember that this day is called Good Friday after all. It is important to remember the victory Christ won for you.

As you think about your own life and walk with Christ, how does meditating on the crucifixion impact that? Is the crucifixion something you think about often or only here and there? If you do not meditate on it often, why not? Would it help to do so?

As you view Jesus on the cross, dying for your sins, remember it is God’s grace and love on display. Jesus is not the victim of a mutiny within his inner group. He was not caught unawares by the events that led up to his death. He knew full well. He gave himself freely. As you meditate on the cross, thank Christ for his great love and sacrifice. Thank the Father for his love for you that was proven by sending his Son as a gift of his infinite grace.

Prayer:

Jesus, as I meditate on your supreme sacrifice for me, I want to say with a full and thankful heart how grateful I am. Lord, help me not take your love for granted. Help me to stay near the cross, for by it I receive your grace, love and victory. I thank you that this day is indeed good, even though it was filled with unimaginable grief and suffering, it is good because you defeated sin and death—it is good because you paid the price for my redemption. I thank you and praise you for your great, unconditional love. May I forever be thankful to you, the only One deserving of my thanks and praise, Christ Jesus my Savior, Amen.

Here is the link to last year’s Good Friday post: https://meanderedwanderings.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/good-friday-jesus-boo-boos-and-hissy-fits/

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