Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy Week - Good Friday

Jesus spent Thursday evening sharing
a meal with His closest friends....and His worst earthly enemy, Judas!!! He showed them just how much He loved them by becoming the servant and in all humility He gently, tenderly washed their feet. less than 24 hours.....
things certainly took a "turn for the worse"!!

Matthew 26:30 (NLT)
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

On their way to the Mount of Olives, Jesus told those who were the closest to Him that on this very night they would dessert Him. Can you imagine the closeness they must have felt during supper, and then to just forget all about that in such a short amount of time.

 Poor Peter!!!
He was always so bold and sometimes just seemed to say the very first thing that popped into his mind.
I think a lot of us can relate to some of Peter's shortcomings!!! He insisted that he WOULD NOT deny His Savior. His words were "even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!" Peter would have to eat those words in just a few short hours!!!

Matthew 26:36-46
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said,
“Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn't you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn't keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

If you had a friend confide in you, and tell you something along the lines of "my soul is crushed with grief to the point of death"....would you just totally ignore them?? Would you decide that it was much more important that you get a good night's sleep than pray with....and for....your best friend??? Well, that's exactly what Jesus' disciples did. Three times He asked them to watch and pray, even asking Peter, "couldn't you watch with me even one hour?" How sad to think that I couldn't spare just one hour for my very best friend!!! 

Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there." Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.
Matthew 26:47-56
And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a rearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. (this would be Peter!!!) Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” 
(See Isaiah 53:5-7)

All the disciples deserted Him and fled....just like He said they would!!! Jesus was arrested and carried away for a "mock" trial. What had He done to even warrant an arrest??? Aren't we "innocent until proven guilty"? That certainly didn't apply to Jesus, did it? All He did was tell the truth, even to His accusers...and He was accused of blasphemy!!!

As I've studied these scriptures this week leading up to the reason we as Christians celebrate Easter, I've experienced a lot of different emotions, almost as if I were right there walking alongside Jesus as He made His way thru the last week of His days on earth. But...I have to ask myself...what would I have done?
Would I have had the nerve to have admitted:


Or...would I have been just like His disciples and ran in the opposite direction hoping that nobody had seen me with Jesus...hoping that nobody would accuse me of being one of His followers...would I have been like Peter and tried to blend in with the crowd, yet staying near enough to try to see what was going on???
Remember that Jesus told Peter that he would deny knowing Him three times before the rooster crowed the next morning?

Matthew 26:75
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
And he went away, weeping bitterly.

It hurts me so deeply to read the accounts of how Jesus was beaten:

Matthew 26:67-68
Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists.
And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah!
Who hit you that time?”

Matthew 27:26
So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

Isaiah 52:14
But many were amazed when they saw him.
His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
As this longest night in history wore on, here are the accounts of the events that took place:

Judas Hung Himself - Matthew 27:1-10
Jesus Trial Before Pilate -
Matthew 27:11-26
The Soldiers Mock Jesus - Matthew 27:27-31
The Crucifixion - Matthew 27:32-44

The Death of Jesus

Matthew 27:45-56
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him. Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

The Burial of Jesus
Matthew 27:57-61
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

The Guard at the Tomb
Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.I realize this is a very long post.

As Christians, I think it's important for each of us to take the time to go back and re-read the story of the cross....of how God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins. We need to read how He was treated....and realize that He did it for us....that He took our place....that it was each of us who deserved the treatment that He endured!!!

I wish for each of you the most blessed Easter you've ever known....just because you've come to realize the real reason for this celebration.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Easter baskets and coloring Easter eggs and all the fun that we put into Easter for the little ones...and us big kids love chocolate bunnies, too!!!
But....please....take the time to steal off by yourself sometime today, or tomorrow, or Sunday....and thank Jesus for what He did for you!!!
John 3:16 (NLT)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Blessings to you!!!
In His Most Precious Love....and with mine!!!

1 comment:

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24