Reflections on Good Friday
Pastor Steve Snook of Metro Church in Santa Monica leads a small group of men down the path of Jesus’ last moments on earth before his crucifixion.
The disciples prepare for the Passover (Matthew 26:17 – 19, Mark 14:12 – 16, Luke 22:7 – 13). At sunset, they observe the last Passover Jesus will partake of (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13). Then, Jesus shared “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16, NLT)
As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. After the service is completed they sing a hymn then walk to the Mount of Olives(Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26).
Later that evening while walking to the Garden of Gethsemane (at the foot of the Mount of Olives), Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid, It’s part of a bigger plan (John 14:1-6). He offers his final words of encouragement (John 16:1 – 31) and again states that the disciples will leave him (John 16:32 – 33).
Jesus and his disciples arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane, where Peter, James and John are taken to stand watch while Christ prays. The disciples, though asked to stay awake while he prays, quickly fall asleep. Although he initially prays that the “cup” of suffering and death awaiting him be taken away, the Lord ultimately accepts whatever the Father wills (Matthew 26: 36 – 44, Mark 14:32 – 40, Luke 22:39 – 46, John 17).
Late that night –
Judas arrives in the Garden of Gethsemane accompanied by armed officers and other men provided by the religious leaders. Judas, as a signal of which person to arrest, gives Jesus a kiss (Matthew 26:45 – 49, Mark 14:41 – 45, Luke 22:47 – 48, John 18:1 – 8).
In the middle of the night the High Priest questions Jesus about His disciples and teachings but does not receive an answer. Frustrated, he adjures him by the living God to state whether or not he is the true Son of God (Matthew 26:62 – 63). The answer he receives so angers him that he tears his clothes and cries out that Christ has committed blasphemy.
The High Priest then immediately asks the council for a verdict, to which they unanimously shout that the death penaltyshould be carried out (Matthew 26:59 – 68, Mark 14:55 – 65, Luke 22:63 – 65). Peter then denies him three times (Matthew 26:69 – 75, Mark 14:66 – 72, Luke 22:56 – 62, John 18:17, 25 – 27).
Before dawn, because Jewish law demanded two sessions of the Sanhedrin hear and try a defendant, a second trial of Jesus was held. This second trial, however, seems little more than than a “rubber stamp” or automatic approval of the first trial’s decision. He is bound and sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea, for punishment. (Matthew 27:1 – 2, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66 – 23:1, John 18:28)
Early that morning the Jewish leaders bring Jesus to Pontius Pilate under the charge of treason against Rome. His enemies want the Romans to do the dirty job of “legally” murdering him!
While Pilate questions Jesus (Matthew 27:11 – 14, Mark 15:2 – 5, Luke 23:2 – 4, John 18:29 – 30) he discovers he is from Galilee and sends him to Herod Antipas (Tetrach of Galilee and son of Herod the Great) for judgment. Herod questions him but receives no answers. Herod and his soldiers mock him, put a splendid robe on him, and send him back to Pilate (Luke 23:5 – 12).
Pontius Pilate tells the Jewish religious leaders that he and Herod Antipas find Jesus innocent. Pilate wishes to release him (Luke 23:13 – 15, John 18:31 – 38). Unable to do so because of the crowds, he releases the prisoner Barabbas. He then has his soldiers severely beat and scourge Jesus.
The soldiers take Jesus to Golgotha, also known as Calvary and the Place of the Skull, to be crucified. Along the route they force Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross (Matthew 27:32 – 33, Mark 15:21 – 22, Luke 23:26 – 31, John 19:16 – 17).
Before mid day Jesus is nailed to the cross. He is crucified along with two thieves (Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27 – 28, Luke 23:32 – 33, John 19:18). He is given wine (vinegar) mixed with gall to drink while on the cross (Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23). Roman soldiers also cast lots for his clothes.
Pontius Pilate has the charge against him written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin and put on Jesus’ cross. Near the end of his life Christ asks God the Father to forgive those that are killing him (Matthew 27:35 – 36, Mark 15:24 – 25, Luke 23:34, John 19:23 – 24).
Some in the crowd, where Christ is crucified, stare at him in amazement. Others such as Roman soldiers, members of the Sanhedrin (chief priests, scribes, elders) and even the two thieves also being crucified, mock him.
Many family and friends, at a distance, watch Jesus suffer on the cross. These include his mother Mary, her sister, Mary Magdalene and the apostle John (Matthew 27:39 – 45, 55 – 56, Mark 15:29 – 33, 40 – 41, Luke 23:35 – 44, 48 – 49).
At some point darkness covers the entire land. At 3 p.m. Jesus Christ, the Savior of man, is forsaken by God and cries out with a loud voice: “Eli Eli, lama sabachthani?” Some in the crowd think he is calling out to the prophet Elijah (Matthew 27:46 – 47, Mark 15:34 – 35). He is offered and accepts vinegar (sour wine) to wet his lips. A spear is thrust into his side and He cries out with a loud voice “It is Finished!” His last words are: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
The Jews, desiring the death of those crucified before the high Holy Day starts (at sunset ), asks Pilate to break their legs. Pilate agrees. The legs of those crucified with Jesus are broken, but his are not since he is already dead (John 19:31 – 37).
Pilate, just before sunset, allows Joseph of Arimathea, a rich member of the Sanhedrin, to take the body of Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus wrap his body in fine linen with a mixture of myrrh and aloes and bury him in the brand new tomb Joseph had made for himself (Matthew 27:57 – 61, Mark 15:42 – 47, Luke 23:50 – 55, John 19:38 – 42). At sunset the First Day of Unleavened Bread, a high Holy Day where no work is allowed, begins.
The Chief Priests, along with the Pharisees, visit Pontius Pilate out of fear that Jesus’ disciples will secretly steal his body then claim he has risen from the dead. The religious leaders request that Pilate use his troops to have the tomb secured. Pilate, however, gives them permission to use their own guard for the task. The garden tomb is made secure, the stone at the entrance of the tomb is sealed, and a guard is placed near it (Matthew 27:62 – 66). At sunset the high holy day ends.
Adapted from bible.org