The format for today is a bit different than our usual weekly edition. It is designed to help you walk through the monumental events of Good Friday before we rush to the good news of Easter.
Teaching points to incorporate in discussion or to answer questions that may arise
- Good Friday is the day Christians intentionally remember Jesus’ crucifixion and the sacrifice he made on our behalf.
- It is called good, not because what humanity did to Jesus was good, but because what God did through it was good. Jesus’ death, and on Sunday his resurrection, brought the grace of salvation for all of us.
- Between the end of the Last Supper and Friday morning, the following things happened:
- Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray and the disciples followed him.
- He asked them to pray and he went into the garden to pray by himself.
- During his prayer, he asked God to stop what was going to happen but if it was God’s will then he would be obedient.
- Jesus returned to find the disciples had fallen asleep rather than praying.
- Judas, the disciple who took 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus, comes with a crowd to the garden and kisses Jesus on the cheek. This was to identify Jesus.
- Jesus was arrested and was taken to the high priest’s house.
- Peter followed at a distance. When he was asked if he was with Jesus, Peter denied it. In fact, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times that night, just as Jesus said he would. When Peter realized what he had done, he wept.
Use this video from the Bible Project to set the stage for the crucifixion story as told in the Gospel of Luke.
Today is called Good Friday, but we can’t seem to see what is good about the day you died, Gracious Lord. But we know that God works good out of human evil and we give thanks for the goodness that emerges from this day. We thank you for your sacrifice and your willingness to do God’s will. Give us the courage to live in ways that reflect our gratitude for the grace your Son brings to our lives. Amen.
- Voice 1 Luke 23:1-5
- Voice 2 Luke 23:6-12
- Voice 3 Luke 23:13-17
- Voice 4 Luke 23:18-25
- Voice 5 Luke 23:26-31
- Voice 6 Luke 23:32-38
- Voice 7 Luke 23:39-43
- Voice 8 Luke 23:44-49
- Voice 9 Luke 23:50-56a
- Everyone read together Luke 23:56b “On the sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.”
Engage in dialogue
- Why did the assembly, the chief priests and leaders so eager to kill Jesus?
- Why did Pilate tell them he didn’t see any validity in their claims against Jesus and then pass him off to Herod for a final decision?
- Where have you heard of Herod before? (Matthew 2:1-16a Herod and the three Wise Men)
- Why did Herod send him back to Pilate?
- I wonder if there was anyone in the crowd that day who didn’t really believe that Jesus was guilty but who didn’t say anything? Why would they have gone along with what everyone else was saying when they didn’t personally completely agree with it?
- Why do you think people got caught up in what the crowd was demanding?
- Why do you think Pilate finally agreed to put Jesus to death even though he and Herod both found him innocent of crimes that would call for death?
- How did Jesus respond and react through all of this?
- Why do you think Jesus forgave them all even though all he had to endure and refuse to condemn them?
Additional teaching points
- It can be hard to leave the story right where we did. Our inclination is to rush to the Good News of Easter morning.
- It is important that we stay in Good Friday today. On that day and on through Saturday, Jesus is dead. It’s difficult to sit with the idea that Jesus is dead.
- However, if Jesus weren’t really dead, he wouldn’t have been fully human and God would not have needed to resurrect him.
- Being a disciple sometimes means we have to stay with the hurt and pain of others.
- This is only possible because we trust God and we know God keeps Holy promises.
Place yourself in a contemplative and prayerful posture, close your eyes and let your mind reflect on the questions in this haunting and powerful hymn.
Help us to see, O Lord, the pain that is still around us. Let us recognize the broken places where your deliverance is still needed. Then, O God, give us the courage to make Christ’s healing love known so that your son’s sacrifice on the cross is not in vain. Amen.