Good Friday

On Good Friday, we Christians remember and commemorate the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16:21-23, when Jesus foretold his death and resurrection, his disciple Peter told him that “this shall never happen to you.” But Jesus rebuked him and said that “you are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” If we were Peter, would we be able to stop and persuade Jesus not to die for us on that day? No—for this is the way that he chose to love us, and he willingly took up the cross and died to give us new life. How then can we properly commemorate Jesus’ death? I want to suggest three ways we can do so more meaningfully this year.

The first way is to be there with Christ. There is an old hymn that I love. It goes, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?” It is so easy to treat Passion Week like any other week, busy and full of distractions, barely stopping to remember, or recognize the significance of, his death on the cross. One way we can really commemorate Jesus’ death is to stop for just a moment and picture being with him on that night in Golgotha, to hurt alongside him as he is nailed to the cross for our sins, rather than being one of the people who deserted him on that night.

The second way is to see the fullness of his suffering and sacrifice. On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus was distressed and troubled. He prayed, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). In order to more meaningfully commemorate his crucifixion, I think it is important to see not only his afflictions and death but also his courage and obedience in taking up the cross. I think that this could be of great encouragement and confidence to us, as we strive to take up our own cross and follow him in our own spiritual lives every other day of the year.

The third way is to witness to others. We need to tell people why Jesus suffered and died, to explain the meaning of Good Friday and Easter to those who may not know. Jesus suffered and died because God loves us. Jesus died so that we could live. Jesus’s death was exchanged for my life and your life. When people, especially your children, ask you why we go to church on Good Friday and Easter, be a witness and tell them the true meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I pray that your spirit and relationship with God and with others will be restored by Jesus’ death and resurrection today and this weekend.


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