Good Friday


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The Veil Is Torn Asunder
In His last hours Jesus uttered seven statements that have become known as the Seven Last Words Of Christ:
1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
2. Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.
3. Woman, behold thy son.
4. My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
5. I thirst.
6. It is finished.
7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed out His life.  And the curtain of the Holy of Holies of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  And when the centurion who stood facing Him saw Him expire this way, he said, truly this man was God’s Son!  Mark 15:37-39
And then He was laid in The Tomb.
There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who had not agreed with their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed. It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed along and observed the tomb and how His body was placed. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Luke 23:50-56  CSB
Wait for it.  All your cries have been heard and the ransom paid in full.
Easter2023, 23/42


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /7
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”  Luke 23:46
This is a prayer of great significance that every Christian must apply to our lives.  Jesus trusts God to the very end.  Let this be your daily prayer:  “I commit myself to you, O God.  In my living and in my dying, in the good times and in the bad, whatever I am and have, I place in your hands, O God, for your safekeeping.” (Note 1)
(1)  24 Hours That Changed the World.  Adam Hamilton
Easter2023, 22/42


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /6
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“It is finished.”  John 19:30
A salvation was made possible, a love shown.  His earthly mission was complete.  He took our place, offering Himself to God as a sacrifice on behalf of humanity, demonstrating both humanity’s brokenness and God’s love. (Note 1)
(1)  24 Hours That Changed the World,  Adam Hamilton [Paraphrased]
Easter2023, 21/42


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /5
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“I am thirsty.”  John 19:28
It is easy to understand in His humanness that Jesus was thirsty having hung on the cross for many hours without food or drink.
This statement has implications beyond physical thirst.  Ponder and pray on the concept of Jesus as giver of living water.  “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.  The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  John 4:9-10,14   It grieves the heart that Jesus could be thirsty in any way, even for a short time on the cross.


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /4
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34; Psalm 22:1
This from Jesus?  This from the Son of God who prayed and fellowshipped with God?  Yes, this from the one who knew implicitly that the cup could not be spared Him.   It is a cry of utter despair from the human (Son of Man) Jesus, who in that moment felt far away from the Father who sent Him.
Written some 1,000 years earlier, Psalm 22 foreshadows the experience of Jesus at His crucifixion.  The Psalmist opens with the same despair:
    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?  Psalm 22:1 NIV
But the psalm closes with triumph and hope.
    The humble will eat and be satisfied.
    those who see the Lord will praise Him.  
    May your hearts live forever!
    All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
    All the families of the nations will bow down before you,
    for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules the nations.
    All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down;
    all those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him –
    even the one who cannot preserve His life.
    Their descendant will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord.
    They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born
    they will declare what He has done.   Psalm 22:26-31 HCSB
Easter2023, 19/42


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Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
He cannot do anything deliberate now. The strain of His whole weight on His outstretched arms hurts too much. The pain fills Him up, displaces thought, as much for Him as it has for everyone else who has ever been nailed to one of these horrible contrivances, or for anyone else who dies in pain from any of the world’s grim arsenal of possibilities.  And yet He goes on taking it in. It is not what He does, it is what He is. He is all open door: to sorrow, suffering, guilt, despair, horror, everything that cannot be escaped, and He does not even try to escape it, He turns to meet it, and claims it all as His own. This is mine now, He is saying; and He embraces it with all that is left in Him.
The world He claims, claims Him. It burns and stings, it splinters and gouges, it locks Him round and drags Him down.  His despair is unfathomable.
Easter2023, 18/42


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /3
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“Here is your mother.”  John 19:27
Even at His human end, Jesus demonstrated His unfailing humanity and love for others.   He entrusted His mother’s care into the hands of His most trusted disciple.
Easter2023, 17/42


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The Seven Last Words of Jesus /2
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:43
Two criminals were part of the crucifixion story.   A thief hung either side of Jesus, suffering death on the cross.   Think of the two thieves as representatives for the binary choice we have when it comes to salvation.   We either mock and deny Jesus – or we listen, recognize our shame and see the real Jesus.
Just one of the thieves listened and was able to see that Jesus was no ordinary criminal, and didn’t deserve to die.   Boldly this sinner turned to Jesus and pleaded “remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  In that moment another soul was saved.  Jesus didn’t stop bringing the lost and the sinful into His Kingdom then, and He is still in the salvation business today.
You mustn’t ever think it is too late.
Easter2023, 16/42


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The Seven Last Words of Christ /1
Friday, Jerusalem, Circa 33 AD
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
Here it is.  Nailed to and hanging from a cross.  The Roman soldiers have cast lots for His clothing.  The crowd has hurled a never ending stream of insults at Him.  He is mocked.
But Jesus knew that His fate was the will of God – his Father.   His crucifixion was a pivotal element of God’s plan for humanity.
Jesus knew in His heart that we are blind, stupid, pitiable creatures. So He prayed for the mockers and His persecutors, crying out even from the cross for mercy for all.
Easter2023, 15/42


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The Cross
When we think of Easter and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we often think of  the iconic hymn The Old Rugged Cross.  The lyrics are rich:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For the world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wonderous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wonderous beauty I see;
For ’twas on that old rugged cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
George Bennard, 1912
Yet simply knowing and singing the hymn isn’t nearly enough.  The cross on Calvary was where the unfathomable happened. Good Friday. The day Christ went to the cross for us. Words cannot convey the enormity.  Jesus died for us!
Easter2023, 14/42