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Good Friday

April 7, 2007

Yesterday was Good Friday. On this day the church remembers the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. It is the darkest day on the church calendar. Appropriately, the church’s worship on this night should be solemn, thoughtful, and dark. Our church observed Good Friday with a solemn service consisting of songs of Jesus’ death, confession (more than usual), and Scripture readings. The readings (8 total) covered Jesus’ final hours. After each reading, the man who read extinguished a candle until all the candles were out. On the last song, the lights (which were already dimmer than normal) were turned out and the congregation exited in darkness and complete silence.

Even though the church celebrates Maundy Thursday and Good Friday on consecutive days, in actuality, these events occurred on the same day  – Friday (at least according to the Jewish calendar, where Friday begins on Thursday evening). This is significant because of what Jesus accomplished on this special day. Jesus and the disciples ate their Passover meal early on Friday (Thursday evening), which was a normal occurance. This meal did not include the traditional Passover lamb, along with the bread and wine.  This was not uncommon because the Passover lamb had to be slaughtered in the temple and many Jews lived too far away to come to the temple. The disciples, who were from Galilee, would have been accustomed to this. Regardless of why lamb wasn’t eaten at Passover, though, the important point is that bread was broken and wine poured out – Jesus instituted a new meal, the Lord’s Supper.

Later that night and into the next day, Jesus was betrayed, denied, accused, mocked, beaten, judged, humiliated, crucified, and killed. The crucifixion occurred Friday morning, which was when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the temple.  The Passover was observed in order to remember the night that God saved His people by the blood of the lamb. At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus called the bread His body and broke it, and then called the wine His blood and poured it; Hours later, on the cross, His body was broken and His blood was spilt – He was the Passover Lamb, whose blood protects His people from the angel of death.

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