“Forgiveness Friday!”

forgiveness

“GOOD” Friday is the most solemn day on the Christian Liturgical Calendar. It is the day we remember Christ’s sufferings and death on the cross. It was a day like no other. It was the day that changed the world. It was that day that changed me forever. Why do Christians call this day “GOOD”? On the first GOOD Friday, “…God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:7-9). Why is GOOD Friday GOOD? The answer is found in one word: FORGIVENESS!

good friday6

On the first “Good” Friday, Judas tried to undo his betrayal of Jesus by returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests, but they would not accept the bounty they put on Christ‘s head.. Judas threw the money into the temple and went out to a lonely place and hanged himself. The chief priests decided to use the money for the “Potter’s Field”, a graveyard for strangers (Matthew 27:3-10).

a spirit of truth

The chief priests took Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler of Judaea. Pilate asks Jesus if He is “the King of the Jews” and Jesus says, “It is as you say”. Jesus stops answering questions regarding the accusations against Him. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Pilate about Himself and His kingdom. He tells Pilate He has come to “bear witness to the truth. “ Pilate asks the age-old question, “What is truth?”. Jesus answered that question for His disciples, in John 14:6: “I am the way and THE TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Pilate finds no reason to put Jesus to death, but the chief priests press him. (Matthew 27:2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38)

When Pilate heard that Jesus was a Galilean, he jumped at the opportunity to “pass the buck” and sends Jesus to Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee. Herod is in Jerusalem at the time. Herod wants Jesus to perform miracles for him, but Jesus keeps silent. Herod’s soldiers mock Jesus, dress Him in a purple robe and Herod sends Him back to Pilate. (Luke 23:6-12)

barrabbas

Pilate tries to release Jesus because he did not see Jesus guilty of death. In the Gospel of Matthew, it tells of Pilate’s wife having a disturbing dream about Jesus and warns Pilate not to have anything to do with Him. According to the custom of releasing a prisoner during the Passover Feast, Pilate tries to persuade the crowd that has gathered outside to release Jesus. The chief priests incite the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas, a murderer and insurrectionist, and shout for Jesus to be crucified. The Gospel of Luke records that “their voices prevailed”. John’s Gospel tells how Jesus is scourged and given a crown of thorns, and Pilate presents Him to the crowd, saying, “Behold, the Man!” This does not appease the crowd. They shout even louder, “CRUCIFY! CRUCIFY!” Matthew records Pilate washes his hands and gives over the bloodguilt to the crowd. He releases Barabbas and hands Jesus over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:39-19:16)

CARRY CROSS

The entire Roman cohort takes Jesus to the Praetorium and strip Him of His clothes, give Him a purple robe, a crown of thorns and a reed for a staff. They spit at Him, beat Him and mock Him shouting, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:27-30; Mark 15:16-19). After beating Him, the soldiers take back the robe, give back His clothes and lead Him to Golgotha (“the Place of the Skull) to be crucified. They had Simon of Cyrene help carry His cross. Hanging on the cross, Jesus refuses wine mixed with gall [berry from a poppy plant]. (Matthew 27:31-34; Mark 15:20-23; Luke 23:26-32; John 19:16-17)

between two thieves

As Jesus hangs on the cross, with nails pierced through His hands and His feet, He sees that He is being executed between two thieves. The soldiers cast lots for His garments and the crowd that has gathered mocks Him. The sign nailed on top of His cross read, “JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS”. Luke’s Gospel records Jesus saying, “Father, FORGIVE them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke also records Jesus FORGIVING the thief who believes in Him. The repentant thief says, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” and Jesus replies, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (See Luke 23:42-43). On the cross, Jesus cries out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? “ He is reciting Psalm 22, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells “the disciple Whom He loved” [John] to take care of His mother Mary. In Luke, Jesus says, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” John also records Jesus saying, “It is finished.” When Jesus died, the earth grew dark; the curtain in the temple, which hid the Holy of Holies, was torn in two; and many of the dead were raised from their graves and came back to life. Matthew’s Gospel records a centurion declaring, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:35-56; Mark 15:24-41; Luke 23:33-49; John 19:18-30)

Christ's burial

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the council who did not approve of Jesus’ death, who was a secret disciple of Jesus, asks Pilate for the body of Jesus. He is helped by Nicodemus, and they wrap Jesus’ body in linen and spices weighing one hundred pounds and lay Him in a new tomb. Some of the women disciples were also at the tomb and saw where He was laid. (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-42)

On the last day of Holy Week, Christians take time to reflect and meditate on how Jesus willingly died for the sins of the world. Jesus willingly died for you and for me. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (See Romans 5:6 and 8). How can we not rejoice in “such a great salvation?” {See Hebrews 2:3). And how can we not FORGIVE others, especially when God has FORGIVEN us of so much? Good Friday is a time to pray for FORGIVENESS and accept the FORGIVENESS of God, a time to ask others to FORGIVE us for hurting them and a time to FORGIVE those who have hurt us.

forgiveness 2

“Then Peter came up and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:21-22).

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is GOOD for building up, as fit’s the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING one another, as God in Christ FORGAVE you” (Ephesians 4:29-32).

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, FORGIVING each other; as the Lord has FORGIVEN you, so you also must FORGIVE” (Colossians 3:12-13).

body spicesJesus body in tomb

Before the Sabbath begins, the women prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ body the next day (Luke 23:55-56). The chief priests ask for a guard to be placed at Jesus’ tomb because they are afraid His disciples will steal the body. Pilate agrees and posts guards at the tomb, and have them set a seal on the stone in front of the tomb.

Guars at Jesus' tomb

But wait! There’s more to why “GOOD Friday” is so GOOD. It has to do with the GOOD NEWS that comes on Sunday!

What Joy Has Filled Our Hearts! We Are Forgiven and Free to Forgive!

The LydMagdenlena

Lydia

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