Good Friday 2019

Welcome to Good Friday

Good Friday is the mourning before celebration. Today is a funeral. Someone died. Jesus the Christ was brought before Pilate to be judged based on crimes against the empire. That is the tone of good Friday. It was long and full of sorrow. Before we proceed, let us meditate on the dark narrative of this good day. Do not rush. Think of Christ and his dedication to you that lead him to the cross.

Take a few moments to still your heart before walking through this devotional. 

I silence my voice that you might speak;

I quiet my thoughts that you might think within;

I set the gaze of my heart upon you; 

Help me do this, by your Spirit.

Why are we here? In Gods dark providence, he thought it good to crush the messiah. We are here because we are like Peter. Jesus tells Peter that he will disown him three times. Peter rebukes God and says, “even if I have to die with you I will never disown you”. Peter was humbled in his denial. We to must be emptied of pride. Ask God to do so.


Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting!


From Genesis to the cross, the church denied the Lordship of God. We have asked for kings, worshiped idols, and have built Babylons. We want to be God of our own lives. For this reason, Christ died. He made a covenant to His family in Genesis and he submitted Himself for his family. He suffered false accusations from the very people he came to save.


Pilate said to them, “then what I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”


There is suffering when plans and positions are given priority over people. We are dehumanized by those who use and discard us to suit their needs. Jesus did not wash his hands of us and leave is with our own problems. He took them wholly upon himself. Use a pen to trace your own hand over the text. Think and pray about the Scripture passages and reflection questions. Write your prayer, or just a word or two, inside the hand of the outline. Attach your paper to the wall with other people’s tracings .

Power is an interesting thing. We crave but at the same time we are scared of it. Those who have power can do anything they please. That truth attracts us to people who use it for our good. Christ, from his abduction in the garden to the cross still held all of the power. He was in control of the situation. But Christ submitted himself and denied himself the privilege of escape. For the joy set before him He endured. Christ submitted himself to destruction for you and for me.

 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. [1]

Jesus is the faithful one. Think about it. The plan from the beginning of time was for you to be sent to die for your people. All the while you are watching your people rebel and run from you. Wrath is being stacked up against them and you know that at the perfect time that very wrath will stacked on you. You stand an unfair trial, you are mocked, beaten, and sentenced to tortuous death. All of this without flinching. Christ was faithful unto death for you.

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” j When he had said this, he breathed his last.[2]

Take some time to confess to Jesus the ways that sin has separated you from him or has taken hold in your life. Know that Jesus meets you in that darkness and guides you out. Remember he knows you completely and is faithful to forgive.

My trespasses are multiplied before You,

And my spirit testifies against me.

For my transgressions are with me,

And I know my iniquities:

Transgressing and lying against the Lord

And departing from my God,

Speaking oppression and revolt,

Uttering Lies my heart has conceived.

Our God is in the ground. His followers have fled in a state of mourning. But one man, Joseph of Arimathea, went to claim the body of Christ. Gods sovereign hand was finishing his plan. Jesus time and time again proclaimed that “on the third day, I will rise”. Even though our God is in the ground we wait with expectation for Sunday. 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb? Were you there when God raised him from the tomb? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

For a moment, grieve that it was our sin that put him there. 

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.[3] 

Before Christ went to the cross, he prayed. He prayed for us. He prayed that the love of the Father would be in us and that he would be in us. He gave us his peace. He gave us His assurance. That even though the darkness seemed to win, it did not. He reminded us that for a moment all will seem lost. But he encourages us to look through the veil into the calm face of God and not be troubled for soon all will be well. 

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” [4] 

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. [5] 

As we finish, enter into a time of praise and worship. Listen to the words and reflect on the faithfulness of Christ.

[1] The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 27:27–31). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] The New International Version. (2011). (Lk 23:44–46). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 27:57–60). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] The New International Version. (2011). (Jn 17:25–26). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] The New International Version. (2011). (Jn 14:27). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Joining with Jesus in Embracing the Dark

From the very beginning of our existence, we all have been keenly aware of our neediness and dependence. Our cries for nourishment, comfort, protection, and so much more set us on the path of intuitively knowing that we are both venerable and susceptible to things outside of ourselves. In short, we are aware that death and decay are never far away. Thus begins our journey of seeking to avoid all things painful, decaying, or dying so that we can stay amongst the living. Unfortunately, our human attempts to save ourselves from these dark experiences has only added fuel to the fire of decay and death. In many respects, our attempts have only exacerbated a sense of our impending doom. The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 perfectly illustrates this dynamic.

Having been excommunicated with their parents from God’s presence in the garden of Eden, these brothers are having to do the hard work of surviving apart from the presence of God and with the ever-present effects of the Fall. As such, when Cain felt slighted by God, though it was actually Cain who presented an inadequate sacrifice, he was willing to sacrifice the life of his brother Abel so that he might be left with Abel’s brother’s blessings. Though the text does not give us much insight into Cain’s motives, a reasonable explanation could be that Cain attempted to save himself by taking out his brother—it was ultimately an act to preserve his physical and spiritual life. How? Well, if God was not pleased with his offering, then it would mean that Cain is entirely on his own to stay alive. However, instead of Cain preserving his own life, the ‘blood of his brother was crying out’ from the soil, condemning Cain for his murder of Abel. But the effects reached even farther: his parents grieved beyond belief and Cain’s act continued to sow seeds of mistrust among the inhabitants of the earth. Despite Cain’s best efforts to save himself, his efforts to keep death and decay at bay has only caused it to grow ever-faster. So it is often with us as well.

By recognizing the futility of fighting death and darkness, both within and without ourselves, we are forced to grapple with what can bring life out of death. Who can conquer our fears of death and decay, including our passions to avoid them ? What would the path to victory over death even look like? How can we experience the blessing of having ‘the sting of death’ removed from our body and souls? These questions are paramount to our ability to live joyous, hopeful, peaceful, and loving lives, for without adequate answers the acts of Cain are not only inevitable but are the logical outworking of a life without hope and meaning as the result of death. Considering only One has ever adequately answered these questions in both Word and deed, it only makes sense that we enter into a season of reflection surrounding the passion of Our Lord Jesus—our only hope out of the darkness of death.

As you prepare to follow Christ to the Cross at our Good Friday services, take some time to meditate upon this triumphant journey that Christ took to give us the victory. (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 18-19). As you reflect and pray through the various passages related to His passion, which he undertook on your behalf, realize that there is no death and no darkness that the Lord has not seen or experienced. He has conquered all so that He may be united to you! Relish in the grace and love of our God expressed through His Son Jesus! May this Good Friday serve to massage ever deeper into your soul the depth of God’s love for you.