Good Friday – The Day the Debt Was Paid

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).

Good Friday is the most somber day on the Christian calendar. It is the day we remember the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior on the cross. His obedience, passion, and death communicated His extraordinary love for us. No words can fully express how grateful we are that He paid for each one of us with Himself.

Jesus Stood Trial – After Jesus’ arrest, He faced Caiaphas the chief priest, in a hearing assembled by the Sanhedrin (religious leaders), who charged Him with blasphemy for claiming to be the Messiah—the Son of God. He was falsely accused of inciting people to riot, forbidding people to pay taxes, and they mistook His claim to “rebuild the temple in three days” (referring to His own resurrection). Their jealousy and resentment of Jesus provoked their “spitting in His face and knocking Him around. They jeered as they slapped Him: ‘Prophesy, Messiah: Who hit you that time?’” (Matthew 26:68-70). Then, Jesus was sent to King Herod for questioning, which only incited more contempt.

By early morning, Jesus stood trial before Pilate, the Roman Governor. Pilate found no reason to kill Jesus. However, he saw the uprising provoked by the Jewish leaders insistent on Jesus’ death. Pilate attempted to appease the bloodthirsty crowd by offering Barabbas to be crucified and for Jesus to be let go. The indignant crowd wanted Jesus to die. To avoid an insurrection, Pilate submitted to their demands and surrendered Jesus over to them to be killed. “He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder (Barabbas)…but delivered Jesus over to their will” (Luke 23:25).

Mocking of Jesus – In the hours that followed, Jesus was brutally whipped and beaten; 39 lashes with a whip of leather straps embedded with metal. As a symbol of their mockery, the soldiers put a purple robe on Him, twisted together a crown of thorns, and placed it on His head so tightly it pierced Him, causing Him to further bleed. They proclaimed, “Hail, king of the Jews!” (Mark 15:18) and continually struck Him on His crowned head, and spit on Him. They knelt in front of Him, ridiculed Him, de-robed Him, then yoked His shoulders with the wooden cross He was forced to carry.

The Crucifixion – Jesus began the journey to Golgotha (“the place of the skull”)—where He would be crucified. On the way, He met Simon, a man from Cyrene, whom the soldiers forced to carry His cross when Jesus was no longer, physically able. A crowd followed, “including women who mourned and wailed for Jesus” (Luke 23:27). Reaching the destination for His Crucifixion, two robbers were executed with Jesus, positioned on either side of Him. The soldiers drove nails into His hands and feet, and His cross was raised. Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24). Pilate posted a sign above His head that read, “The King of the Jews.”

The people passing, scoffed, and said, “Save yourself! Come down off the cross if You are the Son of God!” (Matthew 7:40). Jesus watched as the soldiers tossed dice and divided His clothes among themselves. They offered him wine vinegar to drink to relieve some of His pain, yet Jesus refused it.

One of the criminals insulted Jesus. The other, rebuked the robber, saying, “’Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this Man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom’” (Luke 23:40-42).

“Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43).

The Death of Jesus Christ – At noon, darkness overcame over the land. Jesus cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”) Another sponge filled with wine was offered to Jesus; “When He received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed and gave up His spirit’” (John 19:30). “One of the soldiers stabbed (Jesus) in the side with his spear. Blood and water gushed out” evidence of Jesus’ physical death. At that moment, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple, separating the “Holy of holies”— the place of God’s Presence, was torn down the center, and the earth shook.

A Roman officer overseeing the Crucifixion witnessed what was happening. He worshipped God and said, “Surely, this Man was innocent” (Luke 23:47).

The Burial of Jesus – That evening, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate agreed. With Nicodemus, he brought myrrh and aloes, and together, they wrapped Jesus in a linen shroud with spices, and placed Him in a new tomb that Joseph arranged. They rolled a stone in front of the entrance of that tomb.

Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother, Mary, saw where Jesus was buried. The chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, fearful, remembering Jesus’ words, that He would rise again after three days. Pilate ordered that a guard be stationed at the grave’s entrance until that third day.

Guiding Points:

Call to Action: Share this devotion with people that need to hear what “Good Friday” really means. Jesus paid the debt for all of us. We get to share this GOOD NEWS with others!

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

“They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days He will rise again” (Mark 10:35).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16- 17).

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to this earth to bear the weight of our sins and shame. Through Your sacrifice, You made a way for a broken world to have hope and eternal life. We are humbled by Your suffering, Lord Jesus, and by the indescribable love You have for each one of us. Help us to be obedient to You, just as You were obedient to Your Father. Be with those that haven’t accepted Your gift of salvation and help them develop a personal relationship with You. In the Mighty name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.

Final thought: Jesus died for everyday people. While He was on the cross, we were on His mind.

Friday, April 7th, 2023


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