Journey to the Cross- Good Friday-April 10, 2020
Scripture Reading: John 19:16-42
Today is Good Friday, the day on which the Church remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Even though we remember a gruesome and violent event, we call this day “good” because God is at work to use the events of this day for our good. In the beginning, God told our first parents, Adam and Eve, that if they chose to disobey him and eat from the forbidden tree, they would “surely die”. God meant that. God was not lying. However, God also chose to show his grace to them and us in Jesus Christ. A curse fell upon humanity and the creation on that day. However, God did not destroy us. Instead God set about to make all things new by sending Jesus to die the death we deserved so that we could be set free from sin. This is why we call today “Good Friday”.
What was the name of the tree from which Adam and Eve were told not to eat?
What is the name of the place where we find the tree (the cross) from which Jesus is crucified?
Jesus was a man born to die. Take a look at these Q&A’s from the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q & A 39
Q. Is it significant that he was “crucified” instead of dying some other way?
By this I am convinced that he shouldered the curse which lay on me, since death by crucifixion was cursed by God.
Q & A 40
Q. Why did Christ have to suffer death?
A. Because God’s justice and truth require it: nothing else could pay for our sins except the death of the Son of God.
Q & A 41
Q. Why was he “buried”?
A. His burial testifies that he really died.
Q & A 42
Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?
A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.
Q & A 43
Q. What further benefit do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?
A. By Christ’s power our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him, so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us, but that instead we may offer ourselves as a sacrifice of gratitude to him.
Now back to our reading from John 19:
In John’s gospel account, Pilate places a sign over Jesus’ head on the cross which reads “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. Without even realizing it, the Roman governor has declared the truth about Jesus. Early he asked “What is truth?” (John 18:38), now it is declared to the whole world. All those passing by could read it. Really it was God using Pilate to write His Word!
What did the soldiers do with Jesus clothes?
In John’s gospel account, what are the last words of Jesus from the cross?
What do you think Jesus meant by those last words? (See Revelation 21:1-5 for the fuller answer!)
Who takes the body of Jesus and buries him in a tomb?
Even though it is a hard scene to imagine, the death of Jesus on the cross is the first step towards the resurrection. When everything seems dark and hopeless, God is at work in the darkness to bring about something new. This is where we see the grace of God in the story and even on into the world of today. Evil will not win because Christ has already won. The journey to the cross is a path that leads to New Life in a New Creation. Amen!