Good Friday and Holy Saturday

After Mindy Thursday is Good Friday or Holy Friday.  That is the name for the day our Lord Jesus was falsely accused, condemned, beaten, and crucified. Good? How was that day good? It fulfilled God’s plan for one thing. It redeemed us and gave us salvation by allowing Jesus to die and arise. Both of those are good, wouldn’t you say?

Scholars say the word “good” comes from the Old English “good” meaning holy. Others argue that the good comes from Jesus sacrificing himself for us. That is the best thing that could ever happen for us.  Jesus paid the ultimate price and we received the ultimate good gift.

Early Friday morning, Judas realized what he had done and was overcome by guilt. With a heavy heart he hanged himself on a tree, not being able to live with what he had done. Around 9:00 a.m. Jesus was in the midst of being mocked, falsely accused, shamed, and horribly beaten. Still our precious Lord did not cry out. He endured. Then after a corrupt trial He was sentenced to be crucified, which is one of the most agonizing, painful, and disgraceful deaths of that time.

Still the soldiers would not leave Jesus alone. They placed a crown made out of pointed, sharp thorns on His head and pressed it down. Hard. Can you imagine the pain of just that one act? His hair and beard were pulled out in places by strong hands. Soldiers mocked Him, spat on Him, and made Him carry His own heavy cross. He was still being tormented yet Jesus bore it in silence. Even as the soldiers hammered the nails in His precious body to the wooden cross, He was being insulted and mocked. Did He respond in kind? No. Through it all He remained silent.

His followers were clustered at the foot of the cross. They were mourning, grieving, and suffering. Did Jesus finally say anything? What did Jesus say? He told Mary and John they were now mother and son. He lifted His head and asked: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV). He asked for forgiveness for those crucifying and torturing Him. Soldiers divided His clothes among themselves by casting lots. They continued to mock Him and baited Him saying if He was truly God’s Son, then He could save Himself. One of the thieves hanging beside Him asked Jesus to remember him for surely He was God’s Son. Jesus told the thief he would be in Paradise with Jesus.

Around noon it became very dark and gloomy. The sun stopped shining. Around 2:00 “Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt: 27:45. Jesus realized to fulfill scripture one more thing must be done, so He said “I am thirsty.” They gave Him some sour wine on a sponge and held it up with a branch. After tasting it, Jesus said “It is finished.” He then said in a loud, clear voice with head lifted “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Then He bowed His head and released His Spirit. This was about the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m. It literally shook the world. There was an earthquake, rocks broke, the temple curtains were torn in half, and tombs opened and bodies of Holy people were raised to life. Can you imagine being there? It makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus so that He could be buried in a tomb on Joseph’s land. Before 6 p.m. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus down from the cross and lay His body in a tomb. They were both members of the Sanhedrin but now convinced that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. His body was guarded in the tomb all day Saturday (the Sabbath) by Roman soldiers. At 6:00 p.m. when the Sabbath ended, His body was ceremonially prepared for burial by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary with spices bought by Nicodemus. The tomb was sealed with a large, heavy stone that took more than one soldier to move. More soldiers were posted to guard overnight. An extra guard was even stationed there to make sure no one would take Jesus’ body. 

I hope you were able to walk through the events of Holy Friday and Saturday. It’s difficult to envision what was done to Jesus. To say He suffered and died is so understated. Jesus was tortured, beaten, mocked, flogged, had nails driven through his hands and feet, and was bloody almost beyond recognition. The pain He suffered that day is unfathomable, isn’t it. You know what else is? That He did it for us. You and me. Take time Saturday to reflect on all of the things that happened during Holy Week. Sunday’s coming and everything changes. Hallelujah!

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