Prayer 556 - Good Friday
It's easy to want to rush to good news of Sunday. But the resurrection is meaningless without the darkness of Friday's events.
The cross stands at the center of our faith, so let's not avoid the discomfort it might bring.
Paul says, “We preach Christ crucified, a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:23) This morning, read these words anew.
" From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.
The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons."
Imagine that you are in the crowds, following Jesus while he suffers his own death. Those first audiences did not have the benefit of knowing that Sunday would change the whole storyline.
Can you find hope even in the darkness of Good Friday?
In our own lives, there are seasons we wish we could push fast forward through. But sometimes, the only option is to endure with hope.
How does the story of Good Friday help you do that?
Consider Jesus' followers.
Judas followed closely with Jesus for years,
but found his destruction when he decided to seek his own gain.
Peter is a rock, an eager follower, who denies his discipleship to save himself.
The women are at the cross. John must be there too.
Where are the others?
Where are you?
Spend time in prayer this morning giving thanks for Christ's act of love on Good Friday. Then ask God to give you the courage and desire to follow Jesus all the way to the cross no matter the cost.
in the cross of Jesus
we see the cost of our sin
and the depth of your love:
in humble hope and fear
may we place at his feet
all that we have
and all that we are,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today is our last day on this journey. One day next week (not at 5 am ;) ) I will send you a follow up message with some words and questions to help you process & reflect on our Lenten prayer practice.
Thank You Pastor Kaity for putting these devotionals together for us. I have enjoyed them so much. What stood out to me was the manifestations when Jesus took his last breath. The earth shaking, the veil torn... Thank you Jesus, my savior, for dying on the cross for me , all because of love.
In the midst of the darkness of Good Friday, there are messages of hope. The women are there. John is there. The thief on the cross proclaims his faith and is promised paradise with Jesus. Jesus prays for us, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”. The veil is torn and the Holy of Holies is opened. For the first time since sin entered the world, we can come in to the presence of God. Community is affirmed in Jesus words to Mary and John,
“Behold your son.” “Behold your mother.” Jesus continues to teach from the cross. Beaten and bloodied and scared, Jesus is not defeated, the Kingdom comes as Jesus proclaims “It is Finished” “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit”. And yet, the words “I thirst.” and “My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken Me” and “I thirst” show us the terrible cost of this day as the penalty for our sins is paid in full. I will be participating in the Ecumenical Stations of the Cross at Holy Trinity today at noon. It is a time to pause. Tonight, we will share in Tenebrae, a service of darkness. It is a time to pause. We cannot rush through this day. Thank you Kaitlyn for this incredible journey.
"Where would I have been?" As far away from brutality as I could. The Passion movie still haunts me as I remember the scenes of all that my Lord went through for me. I could never have survived mentally watching or hearing the pain Jesus went through. Melody. I love you Lord Jesus. There are no words strong enough express my thanks...only my obedience will prove my love for Him.
When I was with UCC’s worship team many years ago, we used to go to Messiah College to sing every year. This one year, for a reason I still do not know, I found myself in a depth of depression. After we sang, I left the building we were in and sat in the garden outside. I was praying because I did not know why I felt the way I did. I am not a person who suffers with depression. This is not a part of my make up, so going through this depression was unusual for me. As I sat in the garden, I felt that I heard the Lord say “Come with me“. I closed my eyes and felt that I was moving to another place. I saw the cross. It was just rough pieces of wood. It looked mean and rough, but I felt the Lord pulling me towards it. As I came towards the cross, I felt the Lord pulling me through the wood and I felt its roughness and the brutality of the cross at that moment. But as the Lord was pulling me through the cross, I also felt the blood of Jesus covering me. So as I came out of the cross, I felt renewed and refreshed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. When the vision of the cross was complete I was back in the garden. I looked down and saw what I thought was a diamond on the ground, and I thought someone had lost their diamond out of a ring or a setting of some kind. I bent down to pick it up and realized that it was A drop of dew on the ground. Funny that I should have thought it was a diamond… It’s shown with many colors and I thought it was a precious gem that I had found. The Lord told me that it was a tear that Jesus had shed for me and that I had been transformed into a diamond that was precious to Him. This was a transforming occurrence in my life. I will never forget the message that the Lord gave to me that day. That is the way I look at good Friday. It is a day of transformation for me and I will never forget what the LordI had me see that day. Thank you Jesus for what you suffered on the cross for me.
Susan, what a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing.
I just wanted to start off by saying thank you so much for taking us through this marvelous Lenten journey. Is has been wonderful to wake up every morning anticipating to read what you put together and very inspiring. Every day I felt closer and closer to where I want to be. Thank you so much or what it took to put all this together for everyone. Today is a difficult day for me but I know Will bring me through today and he always has these many years. Today just happens to be the anniversary of my father's death and yes even though it was many years ago it's still leaves heavy in my heart. He was only 47 when he passed and I was not quite 22 and still had more to say and do with him. But we all go through things like this. Jesus went through so much and just kept doing for us, and I am ever so grateful for all of it. Thank you once again Kaitlyn. it's been beautiful
Today the song “the old rugged cross” will be running through my mind all day.
I'm stuck on the question: "where would you have been if you were there?"
I like to hope that I would've been up there with the other women, watching closely, taking a stand by my proximity to the condemned Savior.
But if I'm being completely honest, it's more likely that I would've been at some high place far away where I could watch everything without being affected by the nose, the crowds, the press of flesh. The desire to be removed from the crowd has always been really strong for me, and I'm sure I would be avoiding discomfort and ugliness as I usually do.
Jesus, help me to push through even the most uncomfortable situations, to be near the cross.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives.❤
Wow! Kaitlyn, thank you for bringing us all on this blessed journey, together. I find myself eager to read your words first thing in the morning. And, to read what our friends here would find in your devotionals, too. My faith has been strengthened and my study ritual has been renewed, thanks to this 556 journey together. I found myself wanting to share your words and this journey with others, as a Kingdom Builder, and I have, on several occasions. You have restored my HOPE in this journey to the cross. What has become abundantly clear to me is that no one should have to come to the cross alone. Jesus was always surrounded by supporters and followers, as imperfectly human as they all were. I believe I would have been there, tightly knit in spirit with the other women. I have always had a "first responder" spirit, and as difficult as this journey was for Jesus and his followers, I would be there to offer whatever comfort and assistance I could to others on the journey. I want to try nurture that spirit for others, even when they reject my assistance. Today, I feel myself journeying with hope to an Easter celebration in my life; a "next day" joy that will show me a new journey to the Cross. I know that I won't be alone in this journey. I'll be surrounded by other believers who will remind me of all the wisdom in the words of God, the gift of service from Jesus, and the "internal GPS" of The Holy Spirit to guide us together always back to the Cross. Amen.