Remember the Story... (Day Six)

Friday (Nisan 15): When Friday got good.

Bible Text: Luke 22:66 - 23:56; John 18:28 - 19:42

Friday. It’s been a long night. Jesus has endured being beaten, mocked, spit on, accused, betrayed, denied, abandoned and rejected. The morning brings with it another level of pain and abuse. The Jewish leaders of the day delivered Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They intended for Pilate to put Jesus to death. After a few questions and political games, Pilate orders that Jesus be scourged. This scourging was a terrible torture that would cause intense agony, pain & shame. After the beating, Jesus is returned to Pilate and brought before the people. They demand to “Crucify him!”. Unwilling to have a riot on his watch, Pilate complies with their demands and has Jesus crucified. The Son of God, sinless & holy, has been beaten mercilessly and is now about to be marched up a hill where He will be nailed to a cross.

Then, Jesus was stretched out on a rugged cross and nails were driven through his hands and his feet. The cross was stood upright and he was put on display for all to see. Onlookers watched as he suffered. By this point Jesus was a bloody mess. He’s been beaten, stripped, shamed, mocked, crucified. Now he waits to die. Matthew 27:45 tells us that from noon to 3 pm darkness covered the land. Jesus was in agony.

Here we see a perfect example of steady, faithful obedience in the midst of terrible suffering and pain. Jesus bore in his body the sins of the world. He bore the wrath of God; our due punishment for sin. His quiet obedience would make atonement for us. He was dying...and his death would bring us life.

About the ninth hour (3 pm) the time had finally come. His work was done. Jesus could feel his heartbeat slowing. He knew that it was over. With one of his last breaths Jesus cries out with a loud voice. With all the strength he can muster he screamed “IT IS FINISHED!!”. And it was finished. His work was done. God answered His cries for help and Jesus, our great rescuer, bowed his head and died.

On this very same day so many years ago, the nation of Israel walked out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt. This ancient anniversary was made even more significant than it had ever been. What had been remembered as the day that God set his people free from the strong hand of Pharaoh would now forever be called “Good Friday” for on this day Jesus had set his people free from an even deeper bondage to an infinitely better freedom.

Questions:

What are some things that we can do to remember the story of Good Friday?
How do we best celebrate such a somber day?
What did Jesus mean when He said “It is finished.”?

{He was declaring that his work was done. Atonement was made and he had been obedient to the very end.}

Prayer:

God help us to understand Friday. Until we feel the weight of the suffering, anguish and pain that Jesus experienced we will not appreciate the glory of Sunday. Forgive us for the times that we think we’re the only ones that have ever suffered. Thank you for sending Jesus to endure the stripes that were meant for our backs, the nails that were for our hands, the death that should have engulfed us. Thank you that his blood covers my sins. That by His wounds we are healed. Help us to stare directly into His suffering rather than sanitize it to ease the sting. Make the darkness of Friday make Sunday gloriously bright. Amen.