Today is Good Friday. Last week we spent time looking at Jesus’s actions and ministry during the last week of his life. Every movement was significant as it marked his path to the cross. As we come into this Easter weekend, we will look at the next three days of Jesus’s life, death, burial, and resurrection.
What happened on Friday?
This was Jesus’s last day on earth before his crucifixion. He will be betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter. Jesus moves to the garden with his disciples to pray. It’s here that he is arrested. His disciples desert him, and he is dragged off to face the shame of a court holding an illegal trial.
Friday is a busy and awful day. Jesus faces the Jewish court, the secular Jewish King, and the Roman governor. Pilate, the governor, doesn’t want to release Jesus. He can see that Jesus has committed no crime and that it is the jealousy of the religious leaders that has brought Jesus to this point. Finally, Pilate relents. Jesus is beaten nearly to death. He is forced to carry his cross to a hill outside the city where he is stripped naked and nailed to it.
The interactions Jesus has with others while on the cross are few, but they are potent.
He’s crucified between two criminals. Even in the most excruciating, humiliating, and desperate hour… Jesus extends grace to one of them who professes belief.
Jesus then motions to his disciple and good friend, John, and asks him to take care of his mother, Mary.
One act of grace with the criminal and one act of obedience to God in caring for his mother. That is the mark of Jesus’s life. Obedience to his Father and unconditional grace extended to us. And then Jesus died.
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.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. -Luke 23:44-46
What happened on Saturday?
We are told that on Friday that two of Jesus’s followers who were members of the Jewish ruling religious council, took Jesus’s body off the cross and buried him in a tomb before sundown. Some of the women who watched Jesus die followed them to the place of the tomb.
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. -Luke 23:55-56
Saturday was a day of rest, the Sabbath. No one approached the tomb on that day. Jesus was battling death and at the same time he was in the presence of his Father. Jesus’s disciples were hiding and laying low. Some of them were planning how they would get out of the city lest a cross be in their future as well. Certainly, they were distraught and in despair. Jesus was gone. Or so they thought. No one rested well on Saturday night.
What happened on Sunday?
Jesus beat death. The last hold that sin had on humankind and Jesus destroyed it. We will celebrate this in a couple of days.
Ask yourself this: What happened to you on that Sunday? What are you holding onto that you think will bring you life? What has a hold on you that is sucking the life out of you? Jesus’s resurrection offers real hope and purpose for here and now (and eternity). Jesus’s resurrection proves he is God and that he killed the power of sin and death. Some of us will open our eyes on Sunday morning with a great burden in our hearts. Release it. Kill it. Give it to Him to destroy. Celebrate the salvation of your soul this Easter and the promise of life everlasting. Walk with Him out of the grave on Sunday fully loved and set free!
White Oak Christian Church