As we start Good Friday, we stand in the shadow of the cross.
Jesus has served the Last Supper, and He has taught His Disciples His Commandment to love one another.
Judas has betrayed him for silver coins.
Jesus has gone to the garden, distressed about the trials He knows He has to face.
The soldiers have come, Judas has kissed him on the cheek, and they have arrested Him.
He has been mocked and scorned for His teachings by the church leaders who will turn him over to the Roman authorities to be killed.
What remains for today is unthinkable... scourging, the crown of thorns, and He will be condemned to die.
He will be made to carry his own cross to Golgatha alongside common criminals to be crucified.
And finally this afternoon, He will be nailed to the sky for all to condemn as He draws His final breaths as a man on the cross.
Then as all the worshipers have left him to die, He will forgive His captors, and commend His spirit to God.
In the middle of the afternoon, they will verify his death with the spear. The sky itself will fall into darkness and the stones WILL cry out as they heave and tear apart the temple's curtain.
The people who love him will sit in the shadow of the cross as their teacher, their healer, their God-among-them suffers and is extinguished - seemingly gone from them forever.
The earth returns to the darkness of hopelessness. And fear and uncertainty seem to have won again.
Can you relate at all? Do you feel alone? Have you suffered loss, fear, pain, or sickness? Are you waiting in uncertainty for something you expected?
The shadow of the cross is for you. The shadow of the cross is for me. Regardless of how great we suffer, Jesus has been there too. The worst we can face will not ever be worse than what He has faced.
And the Good News is ...
the story IS NOT OVER. Your story, our story, His story... is not over.
See you Sunday at 10 as we celebrate EASTER.
Read the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.
(We recommend the Common English translation.)
So it begins...
"On this day around the world Christians remember that tense, sensitive time Jesus spent with his disciples in the upper room and the last supper he shared with them. Many refer to this day as "Maundy Thursday."
The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin word for commandment (mandatum), which Jesus talked about when he told his disciples that he was leaving them "a new commandment," that they "love one another." (Read more from Bible Gateway.)
Maundy Thursday is the day our celebration of Communion comes from. We serve the bread and cup to one another in worship Sundays every week to remember His gift and sacrifice as He first did on this day in the upper room.
But there's more to Maundy Thursday than being the first demonstration of Christian Communion. At this same meal, Jesus undressed, wrapped a towel around his waist and began washing His followers feet. One by one, around their table, he washed all their dirty feet off in a basin of water.
Imagine that! Here's a modern metaphor: you are called to an important meeting with your boss, the founder of your company. You don't understand what is going on at the company. You changed your whole life to work for it because you believe in it - but now you suspect there's trouble. Your boss has mentored you and frankly, you can't imagine ever working for a better leader. When you arrive at the corporate gathering, all the department heads are there. Your boss stands up, takes off their suit, puts on a bathrobe and says you have to get a foot massage from them. You're tired from traveling, you are nervous and anxious over the situation, and a foot massage would be great in another setting. But your boss on their knees touching your feet? That's crazy.
But Jesus did just that. His Disciples were as uncomfortable as you would be. And he did it because as He described, 'He did not come to be served but to serve.' This is possibly the most important and definitive lesson in Christianity. It defines our posture towards the world. And illustrates what Jesus himself meant when He commanded that we "love one another."
"Do you know what I've done for you? You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other's feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. I assure you, servants aren't greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them." -Jesus in John 13:12-16
Now here's the hard reality. Christians have a very hard time being the servants RATHER the ones being served. Churches often look like a different - more human - kind of hierarchy and believers often use the exact opposite language and thinking from Jesus. Our comfort as believers is often the most important thing to us - and our church experience centers around how we are being served - rather than how we are serving one another. Our humanity just keeps creeping in, while Jesus' divinity - His example - His mandate - keeps getting pushed aside.
So do a gut check today on our remembrance of His great servanthood. As a believer, are you taking? Or are you giving away? Is your concern about your own comfort, desires, and tastes? Whose feet (metaphorically) are you washing?
Pray and reflect on this today. If you are able, celebrate Communion tonight... as a family, alone, or with friends. Read Matthew 26:17-30
Watch for our Good Friday devotional tomorrow.
See you Sunday at 10 as we celebrate EASTER!!!
What happened on each day of Holy Week? This week, we’ll be looking at the biblical events that took place during the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday. We’ll base this discussion on our Holy Week Timeline, which you are welcome to download, print, and share with your church or community.
So what happened on Holy Monday and Tuesday? Here’s the Monday/Tuesday portion of the timeline. The horizontal axis is a timeline; the vertical axis represents the proximity of specific individuals and groups of people who played an important role in the Easter story:
Below are the scriptural descriptions of these events.
The Cleansing of the Temple: Matthew 21:12-13
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
The Fig Tree: Matthew 21:19-22
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
The Temple Debates: Matthew 21:23-23:39. Excerpt from 21:23-27:
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24-25. Excerpt from 25:1-13:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Watch Palm Sunday:
Compiled clips from dramatic interpretations of the scripture: 7 minutes
Gospel of John Palm Sunday Clip: 1 Minute 40 Seconds
(This is like reading the Bible - it is only Bible verses set to a movie.)
Matthew 21:1-11Common English Bible (CEB)
Entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)
21 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. 2 He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.
4 Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, 5 Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”[a]
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
8 Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord![b] Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Luke 19:28-44 Common English Bible (CEB)
28 After Jesus said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Procession into Jerusalem29 As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. 30 He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If someone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” 32 Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.
33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “Its master needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it.
36 As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.
37 As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. 38 They said,
“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”
39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”
40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”
John 12:12 - 19 Common English Bible (CEB)
Jesus enters Jerusalem
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord![c]
Blessings on the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 Don’t be afraid, Daughter Zion.
Look! Your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt.
16 His disciples didn’t understand these things at first. After he was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
17 The crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were testifying about him. 18 That’s why the crowd came to meet him, because they had heard about this miraculous sign that he had done.
19 Therefore, the Pharisees said to each other, “See! You’ve accomplished nothing! Look! The whole world is following him!”
Compiled online devotionals for Lent, the 40 day season leading up to Easter