Holy Week in Real Time: Good Friday

from the Lent 2016 reading plan

Matthew 27:1-61, Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53:1-7

BY Guest Writer

Text: Matthew 27:1-61, Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53:1-7

Today is the sixth day of the portion of the church calendar commonly known as Holy Week.

In the coming days, we will slow our pace, walking through the events that took place between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Rather than offer personal, written responses to each day’s Scripture reading, we’ve asked our friend, Pastor Russ Ramsey, to provide a real-time summary of the week’s events. Our prayer is that this more descriptive approach will usher you into the narrative and allow space for you to fully engage the beauty and ache of Holy Week.

Take this week slowly and reverently. It is a somber time, but let us never forget: Sunday is coming.


Good Friday, the Friday of Holy Week, puts to us this question once again: Who do you say Jesus is?

Late Thursday night in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested—betrayed by one of His own disciples and abandoned by His others. The Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin called for secret trials in the dead of night, and the verdict was handed down that Jesus would be crucified (Mark 14:53-65). This was an official order the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, would have to give. And reluctantly, on Friday morning, he did (Mark 15:1-15).

After a severe beating, Jesus was nailed to a cross where He would remain for six hours until dead (Matthew 27:27-44).

He was crucified between two thieves. As He hung there, weak, bloody, and exposed, people from the crowd taunted and mocked Him—scoffing that if He really was the Son of God, then why didn’t He come down from the Cross (Matthew 27:40)? They could not begin to fathom the irony of their logic. That cross was the reason the Son of God had come, and His place as our atoning sacrifice was one only He could occupy. It was Jesus’ presence on the cross, not His ability to come down from it, that would prove His divinity. They knew not what they did.

One of the thieves started in with contemptuous words of his own, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself. Save us!” But the gravity of the scene settled on the other thief as he watched Jesus take the brutality of His captors to God in the form of a prayer for mercy. The thief also watched Jesus give His own grieving mother to His treasured friend. Seeing the grace by which Jesus received this death, the second thief broke into sobs, saying to Him, “Forgive me. I am here for the wrongs I have done, but You have done nothing. Please, remember me when You pass from this place into Your waiting kingdom” (Luke 23:39-43, my paraphrase).

At around 3:00pm, Jesus died (Luke 23:44-46).

Never before or since has more been lost and gained at the same time as at Jesus’ crucifixion. The world gained the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But for many of those present, their hearts broke because the One they believed to be the Savior of the world was dying at the hands of Rome. They couldn’t stop it, and they didn’t yet realize—He was dying for them. Many had put their hope in Jesus, and though He had told them earlier that He would suffer many things and rise three days later (Mark 8:31), how could they possibly have known this was what He meant?

The reactions of the condemned men crucified on either side of Jesus and those gathered at the foot of the cross tell the story of every man and woman when it comes to what we make of Christ’s crucifixion. The cross of Jesus confronts us all with the question of the true identity of Jesus Christ. Times of desperation can harden us or soften us, but the question of Easter never goes away: Who do you say that Jesus is?

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the King of Glory

Post Comments (79)

79 thoughts on "Holy Week in Real Time: Good Friday"

  1. oyinade says:

    You have that peace dear, (don’t let that mocking voice get to you anymore, rebuke it) just look inside of you and you’ll find that you are Special! May the Holy Spirit be your guide. Shalom.

    1. Jodi says:

      Im trying…

  2. Jodi says:

    I often hear my own thoughts or prompts mocking me so many times per day: youre nothing, you’re not good enough. Jesus was mocked so I didn’t have to be mocked any more like this. The chastisement for my peace was upon Him. Where is my peace? I want it.

    1. Megan says:

      The God who created this universe knows how many hairs are on your head, yes your very own head. He knows your very thoughts, he hears every single one of your prayers, he died for your sins. Don’t listen or believe the lies, Jesus would never tell you you’re not good enough. The bible is filed with countless promises from Jesus, reading the word is a renewing of the mind. Jesus said this life wouldn’t be easy, but he would never leave you nor forsake you (Jeremiah 29:11). Read your bible dally, listen to worship music and fellowship with other believers, these things can really help. You are so loved, Jodi!

      1. Jodi says:

        I do, all of those things and more, but it feels like Im reaching nowhere.

        1. Melissa says:

          I believe, Jesus! Help my unbelief! He is our source of strength and faith- praise God we don’t have to muster it all up on our own.

          1. Jodi says:

            We don’t….? But dosent He provide us with a free will to beleive or not? So Im trying to exercise will and its fighting with itself.

        2. Andrea Hope says:

          I have been there before. There have been seasons of my life when I have felt exactly that. He says seek me and you will find me. Don’t give up. There’s a song called “Never Alone” by Barlow Girl. This song has been so comforting to me when I feel like that. “I needed you today, but you didn’t show….But I’ll hold tight to what I know…You’re here. And I’m never alone.” Praying a prayer for you to be refreshed and feel his presence with you.

    2. Dr. Avery says:

      Renewal of the mind by reading the bible and leading the Christian life is first and foremost key, which is what you are already doing; however there’s a secondary active part that we all must do–with these thoughts, you must ask God to reveal and heal you from your past associations in behavior and thoughts. This is usually stemming from our childhood, the beliefs we subconsciously received from our environment (the world), our own flesh (personality), and it can be exacerbated by satan’s lies. So it can be any of these things or combination thereof. We have the peace via holy spirit from Jesus, it comes from knowing the truth about ourselves in Him; however, its not automatic as we all like it to be, there’s effort on our part to understand ourselves and our own history then switch our false beliefs with the truth of Jesus/bible, then we start to feel peace. We heal under the active guidance of God/holy spirit first, and then our own efforts—two step approach is the renewal of the mind.

      1. Jodi says:

        Thank you Dr. Avery

    3. Caitie says:

      Jodi, I would recommend you read, Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It will help!

    4. Courtney says:

      Jodi, I suggest finding scriptures to refute the lies you are believing. Write them down on index cards, say them out loud. When Satan starts in with the lies simply read or recite the Truth out loud.
      Romans 8:32 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
      Ephesians 1:4-6 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
      There are so many others that you could use. Remember the Truth will set you free. I will be preying for you.

  3. Karen says:

    What a beautiful and moving reminder of His beautiful sacrifice. I never thought of the 2 theives as representing our choice, but it’s just so. Thank you for this heartfelt meditation.

  4. Sarah_Joy says:

    My friend recently returned from Israel. She shared an insight that I will meditate on today. Their guide shared that when the curtain of the Holy of Holies was ripped in two the local understanding differs from what seems the common interpretation here. When a person there has a child die, often they will tear their clothing as if the grief is so great it must be released. The curtain separating the Holy of Holies was as a garment for God that tore in the depth of His grief. He grieved deeply the death of His Son.

    Oh God, your very heart on the cross! The aggony of what was required for your own justice to be satisfied! Your one and only Son sacrificed for me. What wondrous love is this, oh my soul!!

    1. Kristi says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Sarah_Joy.

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