I’m not so much a fan of the term “Good Friday”
I prefer the moniker “Black Friday” Because the events of this day are dark and filled with hatred, deception and sin.
First, Jesus is bound by his fellow Jews – leaders, priests, elders and rabbis – and is taken to the Roman Governor, Pilate. He has done nothing to break Roman law, but Pilate is no foo.
He’s well aware that there is a city full of Jewish people, pilgrims for the Feast of Passover, that the city has swelled beyond reasonable control of the Roman soldiers if a riot breaks out.
And he knows that these Jewish leaders have the ability in this time and place to cause these huge crowds to turn against him with just a few words…
Peace is preciously vicarious.
So he takes the safe way out…
He has a tradition to uphold for Passover…he can release one prisoner as a gift. So he offers to let the crowd choose:
Jesus, or Barrabas - a revolutionary Zealot who has already committed murder.
And at the urging of the Jewish leaders, this crowd chooses Barrabas. And the crowd doesn’t just call for the death of Jesus, they call for crucifixion.
To keep the peace, Pilot released Barrabas, orders the whipping of Jesus with a lead-tipped whip and turns Jesus over to the Roman soldiers for crucifixion.
After being whipped and beaten beyond recognition, the soldiers place a crown of thorns upon his head and press it into his skull, drawing blood. They also cover his raw flesh with a purple robe and taunt him with words of “Hail! King of the Jews.”
Then, Jesus, who likely has not slept since Wednesday night, bleeding, beaten, whipped, and probably hungry is forced to carry his own cross through the crowded streets to Golgotha.
24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice[c] to decide who would get each piece. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries[d] were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.[e]29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[f]35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39 When the Roman officer[g] who stood facing him[h] saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
(From Mark 15)
And here I meet the Jesus who’s birth I celebrated just a few short months ago…a Man who is truly the Son of God…
He came as a child for this moment…to go through death in order to undo it for all who will accept the gift.
And I am challenged once more…is there enough evidence in my life to convict me as a follower of Christ? Do I live as if death has been undone? Do I live as if all of this has happened on my behalf, for the benefit of mankind?