Good Friday, April 10th
What happened on Good Friday?
Several sorrowful events took place…Jesus praying in Gethsemane (either late Thursday night or early Friday morning), the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, His denial, His sham trial and flogging, and His crucifixion.
Why is this Friday Good? Certainly, as the day unfolded it didn’t look or feel good—His disciples were still expecting a geopolitical kingdom (like David’s) to be established, so this day was shocking and bewildering to them. It is in looking back that we see the resolute goodness of that fateful day. By His death, Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. Jesus willingly accomplished what we could never do for ourselves by dying for us on that first Good Friday.
Luke 22:44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
The key-word, of course, is anguish. One commentator wrote: “Jesus came to be with the Father for an interlude before His betrayal, but found hell rather than heaven opened before Him…”
Betrayal and Arrest
John 18:3-5a So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.”
Our tendency is to place the blame on Judas as a bad seed. But what we see later in Peter’s sermon that launched the Church (Acts 2) is that “we” killed Christ.
- Acts 2:23 This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
- Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you”
Luke 22:60-61 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”
Two things stand out here:
- We’ve all heard the phrase, “If looks could kill I’d be dead.” So, when Jesus turned and looked at Peter after he denied Him three times, what did Peter see and experience? He did not see anger or pity, Peter encountered gracious love and complete acceptance in the eyes of Jesus, which caused a deep and life-changing repentance.
- What’s the difference between Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial? Certainly, both were grievous sins. The difference appears to be that Judas did not repent, he relented while Peter truly repented. True repentance is a summons to a personal, absolute, ultimate, and unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Though it includes relenting and regretting, it is so much more than that. The unresolved guilt and shame of Judas’ relentance culminated in taking his own life.
Sham Trial and Flogging
Mark 15:15 So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Seven hundred years before the crucifixion Isaiah prophesied about the death of the coming Messiah: But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man (Isaiah 32:14). Wow.
On the cross, Jesus endured the FULL WEIGHT of the all past, present, and future sins of humanity. Someone has suggested that the physical suffering that Jesus endured was like a flea bite compared to the emotional and spiritual suffering of bearing the sin of humanity.
Jesus didn’t exude the peace of God on the cross. If we look closely at what Jesus endured on the cross, we see that he actually lost His peace while He was dying. He cried out in agony and said,
- Mark 15:34 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
- Mark 15:37 “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last.”
Paraphrase: Jesus died screaming. It was an excruciating and violent death. Here’s what this means for you and me: Jesus let go of all of His peace so we could have eternal peace.
Application: Somehow, we must allow the events of this day to penetrate the lingering hardness and complacency of our hearts. I don’t know how to do that for you. Certainly, it will take some moments of quiet reflection. Will you get by yourself to reflect? Will you read these passages and pray with your spouse and family (or housemates)? We’ll also be reflecting on this in our Good Friday service later today…
 Bill Lane. The Gospel According to Mark. Eerdmans, 1974: 573.