Tag Archives: Good Friday

“Good” Friday -Revisited

Last year I wrote my thoughts on Good Friday and Jesus’crucifixion.  You can read it at The Holy Week Story – Friday.

In the post I told the story about how I once wrestled with the “Good” of “Good Friday.”  I guess I am not the only one. You can watch an insightful two-minute video from Igniter Media called “Why I Call It Good Friday.”

Shalom to you as you take time to reflect on Jesus’ death.

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Enter the Holy Week Story

Stories shape our lives. The story of our family, our nation and our world gives meaning to our lives. My own story of being raised in western Washington, going east to college and then coming to Minnesota for seminary shaped my life. The simple story of how we met our spouse or how we chose our career has profound implications on our life. Do we simply drift along from one day to the next, or are we active participants?

Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem by artist He Qi

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are molded by the story of Jesus, especially his last days. As we prepare to enter Holy Week, we have an opportunity to walk with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, to enter his story. We can be with the crowd that cheered his entrance into Jerusalem, shouting our praise to our king. We can ask ourselves, “How do I allow Jesus to be ruler in my life? Am I simply following the crowd? Or do I fully seek to follow Jesus this week?”

On Maundy Thursday, we can enter the upper room with Jesus and watch him humbly wash the feet of his disciples. Are we willing to be servants like him? We can share in his meal of Holy Communion, remembering his steadfast, nurturing love for us. We can walk with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and pray with him as he seeks the Father’s strength and courage for his coming suffering. Will we stay close to him, when all the other disciples run away?

On Good Friday, we can stay in the crowd as they shout to Pilate, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Do we hear our own voices mingled in the crowd? As the soldiers nail him to the tree, do we hear his words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and wonder if he is speaking to us? As he dies, do we feel the sorrow of Mary, his mother? Does something in us die as he is laid in the tomb?

Such a walk through the story of Holy Week prepares us for the ultimate story of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.

Lord Jesus, keep my life in your story this week.

The Holy Week Story – Friday

Crucifixion by Mexican Artist Octavio Ocampo

Holy Week Reflections for Friday

Read Matthew 27:32-56

Those who passed by derided Jesus, shaking their heads, and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the son of God, come down from the cross.”  Matthew 27:39-40

 

Crucifixion was always done in public spaces so that Rome could demonstrate its power.  Thus Jesus was crucified out in the open, naked and humiliated, for all the world to see.  This was no private affair, like John the Baptist’s beheading inside King Herod’s palace.  Anyone and everyone mocked Jesus: the religious elite from the temple, those who passed by, even those hanging on the cross next to Jesus. (In Luke’s gospel, one thief repents, Luke 23:42-43.)  The public humiliation added to the pain and suffering. 

An amazing aspect of the taunts was that they held truth.   Jesus could have saved himself and stepped down off the cross, but instead chose to save us and stayed nailed to the cross.  The sign above his head mocked him as ‘King of the Jews;” yet the cross becomes Jesus’ throne of mercy, his royal decree of forgiveness and hope. He was “the temple of God,” where God’s Spirit resided.  

When I was in confirmation, I remember taking a test that asked for the name of the day on which Jesus died.   The answer had two blanks.  I knew that the second blank was Friday, but I could not remember what word filled the first blank.  I racked by brain, “blank Friday, blank Friday.”  Finally I filled in the blank with the word: Bad, Bad Friday.   My thinking was that it was certainly a bad day for Jesus with his suffering and death.

Of course I was wrong.  We know the day as Good Friday, because it was good for us.  God turned humanity’s total rejection of his love into the final victory for us. 

How does Jesus’ death tell the truth about our lives and world?  How does it give us hope? Where do you see God at work to redeem creation?

Prayer: Lord God, on the cross you suffered the very depths of our human brokenness and sin. Your humiliation on the cross became our path to You.  Help us to remember the depth of your love and the powerful hope you give.