Holy Week – Friday

Holy Week - Friday

Holy Week – Friday

In the early Friday morning hours after midnight while Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas arrives with a mob carrying torches, swords, and clubs.  Judas kisses Jesus in a pre-arranged signal to the mob.  Jesus is bound and taken into custody.

At the house of the high priest Caiaphas, the chief priests and elders put Him through a kangaroo court, complete with false witnesses.  But Caiaphas has a problem: the Romans have not officially given the Sanhedrin the right to capital punishment – and Caiaphas wants this execution to go strictly by the book.  He must ensure Jesus is portrayed as an outlaw, not a martyr.  So he turns Jesus over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate as an enemy of Caesar.

After questioning, Pilate declares “I find no guilt in him.”  But the religious leaders are unrelenting.  Pilate dithers back and forth trying his best to separate church and state, even unsuccessfully tries to pass the buck to Herod Antipas’ jurisdiction.  As a last resort, Pilate offers the crowd the traditional holiday gift of a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card for a prisoner of their choosing.  The chief priests stir up the crowd to have the populist rebel leader Barabbas released.  “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” Pilate asks.

“CRUCIFY HIM!”

Ready to be done with the whole affair, Pilate gives in and hands Jesus over to be crucified.

Crucifixion is not a normal form of capital punishment for the Romans – they have many means at their disposal.  Crucifixion is reserved for those special few that the Roman empire wants to make a particular example of, such as traitors or mutineers.  It is considered by far the most tortuous and humiliating form of capital punishment.

From noon until 3:00pm – the time when the Passover lamb is traditionally sacrificed – the sky is dark.  The earth shakes and rocks split.  Tombs open and some dead believers are raised to life.  The temple curtain, in place to separate man from holy God, is torn in two – not from the bottom up the way a man would do it; the temple curtain rips from the top down the way only God could do it.

“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

Later that evening Jesus’ body is buried in a tomb and sealed with a large stone.

Make no mistake – it was no coincidence that Jesus was put to death on Passover.  We are not familiar with Jewish traditions so the symbolism is easy to miss.

What’s so good about Good Friday?  With the cross at Calvary, God replaced the one-time deliverance of His people from a symbolic covering of lamb’s blood (the Passover) with the eternal deliverance of His people via the divine covering of the blood of The Lamb – not just symbolically but ACTUALLY.  Moreover, God changed out the entire Old Testament system of symbolic atoning animal sacrifices with a New Testament system of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Temple sacrifices are no longer necessary and God has granted us access directly to Himself; Jesus became the priest to intercede on our behalf – no more need for a temple, curtain, or human priest intermediary.  That is how Jesus became the Messiah who redeems His people.

When sinless Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins, He broke Satan’s bondage over us in God’s holy judgment – once and for all eternity.  That’s GOOD NEWS and despite the unjust suffering of Christ, it makes the day of His crucifixion a very GOOD FRIDAY for us!

If you aren’t sure of a time when you confessed that Jesus is Lord and committed your life to Him, will you consider making this a Good Friday by talking to a believer about accepting Christ’s sacrifice and new life?

If you are already a Christ-One, will you consider a new act of worship this Easter season?  In what new way can you express what Christ’s sacrifice means in your life?

Tomorrow: The case for Christ

References:

https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week

Matthew Chapters 26 & 27

Mark Chapters 14 & 15

Luke Chapters 22 & 23

John Chapters 18 & 19

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