by: David Kennedy
April 10, 2020
Holy Week: Day 6 - GOOD FRIDAY
*Have you ever wondered why the day Jesus dies is called "GOOD" Friday? There are two explanations. One is that a long time ago the word "good" meant "holy". The second explanation is that it is called "Good Friday" because it was "good for us". Jesus' death leads to the Resurrection and Easter, the victory over sin and death!*
(GOOD) FRIDAY, APRIL 3rd, 33 AD - JERUSALEM
Jesus has been up all night. He has more than likely been awake now for 24 hours. He has been teased, ridiculed, spat on, accused of blasphemy, and sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin (The Jewish supreme court). Technically the Jewish hierarchy cannot carry out a death sentence under Roman occupation. Therefore, Jesus is sent to the Roman Governor Pilate for sentencing. It is early in the morning (6:00 AM) and Jesus stands before Pilate. Jesus has 9 hours to live.
JUDAS IS DEAD. Many scholars think that Judas, who was a Zealot and therefore hated Rome, thought with the arrest that he had forced Jesus' hand. Now Jesus would become the warrior messiah that every zealot thought the messiah would be. A might messiah sent by God to lead the people in a victorious war to over throw the Romans. Judas has badly underestimated Jesus and Jesus' mission. He now realizes Jesus is not going to call down a legion of 1000 angels. Jesus is going to die and Judas cannot live with himself. He tries to return the 30 pieces of silver. THE CHIEF PRIESTS WILL NOT ACCEPT THE BLOOD MONEY. This only adds to Judas' guilt, shame, and despair. Judas finds a tree and hangs himself.
Meanwhile, Pilate has a problem and his name is Jesus. Pilate knows Jesus is an innocent man. He also knows he has a very hot political potato in his hand. If he releases Jesus the powerful Chief Priests and their followers will be furious and he may lose control of them. On the other hand, the masses love this Jesus and could revolt if he is killed. He does not have enough Roman soldiers to handle 100,000 angry Jewish people. So, he does what any good politician would do; he passes the buck. According to the Gospel of Luke, Pilate sends Jesus to see Herod, the puppet king of Israel. Who, while excited to finally meet "this Jesus", makes no political decision about him. Instead, he sends Jesus right back to Pilate. An interesting side bar to this is that Luke has a verse at the end of this story that says, "That same day Herod & Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies." (Luke 23:12)
Pilate now tries to offer the crowd a choice. Barabbas, a convicted murderer or Jesus. The crowd belongs to the High Priest's fraction. They have been bribed and know what to do. They yell, "Crucify Him" (Jesus). Pilate washes his hands of the mess (literally) and turns Jesus over to be crucified, but first he will be scourged. I will not go into the details of a scourging. Suffice it to say it is a whip with razor sharp bones and pieces of lead that destroys flesh. Jesus endures 39 lashes while draped over a post in the courtyard to expose more of his back. He then is forced to carry the crossbeam for his cross to Golgotha.
It is 9 AM. Jesus has been awake now for 27 hours. HE HAS 6 HOURS TO LIVE. The temperature is getting warmer. Jesus has walked to Pilate’s House, then Herod's Palace, back to Pilate's place, and now he must walk and carry the cross' beam (not an entire cross) to where he will die. He is exhausted, dehydrated, and losing blood from the scourging. The crossbeam weighs 100 pounds. Jesus has to walk a little over 1/2 a mile (.6 mi) to the place of his execution. During this walk Jesus collapses and Simon of Cyrene is chosen from the crowd to carry the beam the rest of the way.
Jesus is nailed to the cross. His feet are put one over top the other and 1 nail is used to fastened the feet to the cross. A nail is driven through each of his wrists. (Scholars realized some time ago that paintings depicting the nails in the hands were wrong; the hands cannot support the weight of a body on a cross but the wrist bones can). By 3 PM Jesus will be dead.
There are still more parts of this story to write about, but this article is getting too long, so I will continue it on Holy Saturday.
For now, simply ponder how much Jesus LOVES YOU by truly playing out these words in your mind and heart. May Good Friday enrich your love of, and your walk with, Jesus.
Amen & Amen.
Dad, Papa, Uncle Rich, "Butter", Son-in-Law, Rich, & Rev. Rich