Today, this Good Friday, the question on my heart, “Does Good Friday even matter to the Church anymore?”
This may seem harsh…contrite…ridiculous…but is there any truth here?
Has a celebration/remembrance of Good Friday become some unnecessary “religious” ritual? Have we bought into this lie?
Remember, this my friends…without the cross, without Jesus’ death, there is no resurrection. There is no atonement for our sins. There is no salvation.
Good Friday is an opportunity to remember Christ’s suffering, to immerse ourselves in His story, in the meaning, in the man and God, Jesus Christ.
In what ways did Jesus suffer?
Jesus endured physical suffering
Matthew 26:67 (NKJ): Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands..
Matthew 27:26 (NKJ): Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Mark 15:17-19 (NKJ): And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, 18 and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.
Matthew 27:32-37 (NKJ): As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watchover him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him:
Death by cruxifixction in and of itself is immense suffering.
Jesus was mocked
Matthew 27:28-31 (NKJ):28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
Luke 22:63:Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him,
Mark 15:31 (NKJ): Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.
Luke 23:36 (NKJ): The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
Jesus suffered in every form imaginable, even more than we could imagine. The bodily torture he endured was only the surface of his sacrifice, and the pain worsened as the wounds deepened.
Crowds beat him. Guards, drunk so they could carry out his gruesome punishment, flogged him within an inch of his life using a whip of many tails, laden with bits of metal and bone that sank into his skin as it wrapped around his body, ripping away chunks of flesh as it pulled back for another lashing.
A crown of thorns dug into the skin that stretched over his throbbing head. He carried a rugged, splintering bed of torture on his raw back, collapsing under its weight, staggering and straining forward again, his vision blurred by the blood and sweat that poured into his eyes.
Finally, the nails were driven through his feet and hands. His whole body weight dragged against those small points of pressure as the guards lifted him up and dropped the base of the cross into a hole in the hill.
He hung there for hours, using what strength he had left to strain against his nails so he could lift his chest to breathe, the wood of the cross scraping up and down his body like sandpaper, up and down with every breath until his last.
But no physical pain could match the excruciating betrayal and abandonment. -By Rebecca Hagelin and her daughter Kristin Carey
Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, and rejected
Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
Matthew 27: 3 (NKJ): Then Judas, His betrayer…
Jesus was denied by Peter.
Matthew 26:69-74 (NKJ): Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus was abandoned by all His disciples after His arrest.
Mark 14:50 (NKJ): Then they all forsook Him and fled.
Jesus was rejected by His people.
Matthew 27 (NKJ): Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.[c] 17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy…….“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They said, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
One of his disciples handed him over to his death for a bribe of silver. All of his friends fled in fear as he was arrested and left him utterly alone. Then came the accusations. Though Jesus was innocent, he was accused of horrible crimes.
As the hatred poured over him and the physical abuse began, his best friend denied knowing him three times in front of the crowds. Jesus was covered in spit and drenched in mockery. “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
Then the crowd was given a choice: Release Jesus or release a notorious murderer. They chose to let the murderer go free. Jesus heard the crowds shouting for his death, demanding and chanting, “Crucify him!” By Rebecca Hagelin and her daughter Kristin Carey
Jesus paid the penalty for our sins
Jesus’ cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) has puzzled many. Jesus is actually quoting the opening line of Psalm 22 and using it to express His deep agony on the cross. He is suffering the penalty for our sin, in our place.
The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Death includes two dimensions—physical and spiritual. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body. Spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God. Since Jesus was dying for our sin as our substitute, He was experiencing the agony of separation from His Father. It was the agony of hell.
There is an unfathomable mystery here. Jesus was both God and man united in one divine Person. He could not suffer and die with respect to His deity, but He could suffer the agony of separation from the Father and actually die physically with respect to His humanity. And He did, that we might, through repentance from sin and faith in Him as our Savior and Lord, be forgiven of our sin and reconciled with God.-Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
While it is true that many have suffered and even many have died on crosses, I believe no one can comprehend the suffering of Jesus Christ. To my knowledge, Jesus is the only sinless man condemned; abandoned by God the Father, all for the sake of mankind.
Take this day, Good Friday, to contemplate just what Jesus’ suffering means for you. For what purpose? It helps us to truly understand the depth of God’s love for us, it renews our appreciation of the grace we have been given, and empowers us to use that grace to walk out our faith.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,