Good Friday Topical Study

<h2 class="heading-lg">What is Good Friday?</h2><p><span class="body-copy">Few of the world&#39;s religions or nations paradoxically celebrate the death of its founder or of a key leader. Americans, for instance, may sadly commemorate the days when Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy were assassinated, but those days are not called &quot;good&quot; or endowed with positive significance. Only Christians are able to look at their Savior&#39;s death and find cause to celebrate because of the theological conclusion that the only way for God to heal the breach caused by evil&#39;s arrival in God&#39;s good creation was to have the Son of God suffer the ultimate consequence of sin: death itself. Further, as an accursed way to die, the crucifixion makes clear that all the iniquity and evil of history was being brought down upon Jesus, who took the place of all humanity in paying the price for a world gone bad. By raising the Son back to life again three days later, God the Father put God&#39;s stamp of approval on this method of saving the world and validated that this particular death indeed leads to new life&mdash;indeed, to life everlasting.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The scene on Golgotha tells us how fearful a thing atonement is, even for the Son of God. All of Jesus&#39;s securities had been stripped away, including his clothing and the loyalty of his friends. The gospels tell us that priests had plotted against him, that Judas had betrayed him, that three disciples fell asleep on him, that witnesses lied about him, and that Peter denied him. Each event was a stake in his heart long before the Romans drove nails through his hands and feet. Mark tells us that Pilate flogged him and that soldiers mocked him. And when the soldiers got tired of kneeling in front of Jesus and then belting him in the face, they led him out to crucify him. All these attacks, all these degradations assaulted Jesus till finally he was led to the cross. Where degradation is concerned, crucifixion is just a way of finishing it off.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Son of God, climaxes Holy Week not just because in the mystery of God&#39;s providence Jesus was making atonement &quot;for us,&quot; &quot;for many,&quot; &quot;for all,&quot; but because his death not only horrifies, but also comforts. It horrifies because the death of God&#39;s Son looks like the end of the world. But it comforts because we see in this grotesque event that God does not hold himself aloof from human suffering but enters into the worst of it himself, thus proving that he may be trusted. Many suffering Christians have clung to the cross of Jesus Christ because they have trusted the person impaled on it.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Mark&#39;s gospel tells us that Jesus suffered through the darkness from noon till three. This darkness has a primeval feel, a feel of un-creation, as if the earth were collapsing back into chaos. On earth&#39;s first day, in a spectacular burst of power and love, God had said, &quot;Let there be light.&quot; God&#39;s creation is so full of light that at its dawn the stars sing together and all the children of God shout for joy. God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. But on Friday from noon till three, there&#39;s no light on Golgotha. It&#39;s as if God turns his face away. It&#39;s as if God can&#39;t bear to watch the madness on Golgotha, and so God hides from it. Indeed, Mark&#39;s gospel tells has that after Jesus suffered through the darkness, he &quot;cried out with a loud voice,&quot; using the first words of Psalm 22: &quot;Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani! [My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?]&quot;</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">None of the four gospels actually contains seven final words from Jesus. Matthew and Mark each contain just one saying (the cry of dereliction &quot;My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?&quot;). Luke has Jesus speaking three times (asking for forgiveness for his tormenters, assuring the one thief he would join Jesus in paradise, and commending his spirit to the Father). John also contains three sayings (commending his mother to the care of a disciple, indicating thirst, and the climactic &quot;It is finished&quot;). Critical scholars often flag these variations as discrepancies that undercut the reliability of the four gospels. Others claim such variation bears the hallmarks of eyewitness accounts from multiple vantage points and see no reason to doubt Jesus spoke all seven sayings at various moments during his crucifixion.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">There is always the temptation liturgically or homiletically on Good Friday to make the service a kind of anticipatory pre-Easter celebration of life and light after all. Perhaps we fear that too much somber reflection is a downer or a turnoff to some worshipers. Perhaps we think worship services always need to be on some level upbeat and joyful. Probably these are tendencies to resist on Good Friday. It is well to let the gravity of Christ&#39;s suffering and sacrifice sink into our souls as followers of Jesus. Yes, as the saying goes, &quot;It&#39;s Friday, but Sunday&#39;s coming!&quot; But the joy on Sunday will be greater and deeper&mdash;if we let the sorrow of remembering Christ&#39;s agony on Friday be as real as possible. The goal is not to foster sadness for the sake of sadness but to generate awe and wonder about how Christ accomplished all salvation.</span></p><h2 class="heading-lg">How do I plan a Good Friday worship service?</h2><p><span class="body-copy">There are many narratives or directions that a Good Friday worship service could take. A few possibilities are:</span></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">dramatically narrating&nbsp;the events surrounding Jesus&#39; death</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">following the structure of the seven last words of Christ</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">taking the shape of a Tenebrae service of deepening shadows with a candle that darkens the worship space</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">setting up a service that follows the stations of the cross, marking the Via Dolorosa or way of sorrows on the way to Golgotha.</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">setting up a simple, quiet space and inviting worshipers to leave in darkness and silence</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy">marking the day with the celebration of the Lord&#39;s Supper, perhaps with a focus on how the supper proclaims &quot;the Lord&#39;s death until he comes&quot;</span></span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">not marking the day with communion, especially for those that celebrate frequently</span></span></li></ul><p><span class="body-copy">Yet no matter how the service is constructed, Good Friday worshipers gather in profound wonder and gratitude not only to reflect on their suffering Savior, but also to rejoice in the purposes of God, who wills to redeem his children, and to offer profound gratitude for God&#39;s greatest gift.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">When is Good Friday?</h3><p><span class="body-copy">Good Friday occus the Friday before Easter.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">What colors may be used for Good Friday?</h3><p><span class="body-copy">Black, representing death and the darkness that fell over the land, is a color that may be used for Good Friday.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">What themes may be used for Good Friday?</h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy">darkness and cries for salvation&nbsp;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy">atonement (See&nbsp;<span class="anchor" id="Salvation in Christ, by Grace" name="Salvation in Christ, by Grace">Salvation in Christ, by grace</span>)</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">the suffering servant&nbsp;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">sacrificial love&nbsp;</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy">salvation in Christ, by grace</span></li></ul><h2 class="heading-lg">What else can Good Friday be called?</h2><p><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy">By using the word &quot;good&quot; in the title for this day, there is an implied paradox. Jesus died, which is bad, but yet it is good, because of what Jesus&#39; death and resurrection mean for the world: it fulfilled the plan of redemption for the entire world.</span> </span></p><p><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy">Other languages use words that translate to &quot;Holy,&quot; &quot;Long,&quot; &quot;High,&quot; or &quot;Great&quot; Friday, all leaning into different parts of the narrative of hte day. In German, this day is caleld &quot;Karfreitag,&quot; meaning &quot;bewail&quot; or &quot;grieve.&quot;</span></span></p><h2 class="heading-lg">Worship service ideas for Good Friday</h2><p><span class="body-copy">&quot;When Jesus breathed his last he gave the world a Pentecostal moment, he breathed forth his &#39;holy&#39; spirit for the salvation and renewal of the world.&quot; Scripture Meditation or Sermon <a href="">by Denis Geraghty from Torch</a></span></p><p paraeid="{194003b2-7ff5-4e17-b09d-40494ecf1666}{166}" paraid="2128624152"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Having a service that is funeral-like on Good Friday can hammer home to us in a very deep, visceral way that Jesus really died.&quot; Service Outline <a href="">by Carol Penner in Leading in Worship</a></span></p><p paraeid="{194003b2-7ff5-4e17-b09d-40494ecf1666}{166}" paraid="2128624152"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Poor Jesus, they left Him up there until they thought he was dead and then stabbed him in the side just to make sure. This is a very sad story isn&#39;t it?&quot; Children&#39;s Sermon or Lesson <a href="">by Sermons 4 Kids</a>&nbsp; </span></p><p paraeid="{194003b2-7ff5-4e17-b09d-40494ecf1666}{166}" paraid="2128624152"><span class="body-copy">&quot;God of endings, God of darkness, God of the tomb, God of dark days and loss, be with us now as we wait with Jesus.&quot; Benediction or Blessing <a href="">by Carol Penner in Together in Worship&nbsp;</a></span></p><h2 class="heading-lg">Bible passage ideas for Good Friday</h2><h3 class="heading-sm">Passion narratives</h3><ul><li><a href=""><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">Matthew 26:47&ndash;27:66 </span></span></a></li><li><a href=""><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">Mark 14:43&ndash;15:47 </span></span></a></li><li><a href=""><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">Luke 22:39&ndash;23:56 </span></span></a></li><li><a href=""><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">John 18&ndash;19</span></span></a></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm"><span class="anchor" id="CriesforSalvationinthePsalms" name="CriesforSalvationinthePsalms">Cries for salvation in the Psalms</span></h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 22:1&ndash;18</a>, Why have you forsaken me?</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 31</a>, Into your hand I commit my spirit</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 43</a>, Vindicate me, O God</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 49</a>, God will ransom my soul</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 51</a>, Do not cast me away</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 130</a>, Out of the depths I cry</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 143</a>, Save me, O Lord</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm"><span class="anchor" id="TheSufferingServant" name="TheSufferingServant">The suffering servant</span></h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Isaiah 50:4&ndash;9</a>, the servant&#39;s humiliation</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Isaiah 52:13&ndash;53:12</a>, the suffering servant</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Zechariah 12:10&ndash;13:9</a>, mourning for God&#39;s pierced one</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Peter 2:19&ndash;25</a>, enduring like Christ</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Peter 3:13&ndash;22</a>, suffering like Christ</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Hebrews 12:1&ndash;3</a>, run with perseverance like Christ</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm"><span class="anchor" id="HungonaTree" name="HungonaTree">Hung on a tree</span></h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Numbers 21:4&ndash;9</a>, serpent raised up</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Deuteronomy 21:22&ndash;23</a>, death on a tree</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">John 3:13&ndash;21</a>, the Son of Man is raised as the serpent</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Galatians 3:13</a>, Christ became the curse for us</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm"><span class="anchor" id="SacrificialLove" name="SacrificialLove">Sacrificial love</span></h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 22:1&ndash;14</a>, the binding of Isaac</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Lamentations 3</a>, ceaseless love amid suffering</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">John 10:14&ndash;18</a>, the shepherd lays down his life</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 John 3:16; 4:7&ndash;21</a>, God&#39;s love is revealed in Jesus</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Hebrews 4:14&ndash;5:10</a>, Christ is both high priest and sacrifice</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm"><span class="anchor" name="SalvationinChrist,byGrace"><span class="anchor" id="Salvation in Christ, by Grace" name="Salvation in Christ, by Grace">Salvation in Christ, by grace</span></span></h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 3:14&ndash;15</a>, the woman&#39;s offspring will crush the serpent&#39;s head</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Acts 13:16&ndash;41</a>, God&#39;s salvation of Israel</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 3:21&ndash;26</a>, righteousness through faith</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 8:1&ndash;17</a>, set free in Christ</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Corinthians 1:17&ndash;21</a>, the power of the cross</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Galatians 3:1&ndash;14</a>, redeemed from the curse</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 2:13&ndash;22</a>, reconciliation through the cross</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Philippians 2:5&ndash;11</a>, obedience unto death</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Colossians 1:19&ndash;23</a>, peace through the cross</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Colossians 2:13&ndash;15</a>, trespasses nailed to the cross</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Hebrews 2:5&ndash;9</a>, Jesus the representative human</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Hebrews 10:1&ndash;25</a>, the body of Christ once for all</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Peter 1:10&ndash;20</a>, ransomed with the blood of Christ</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Revelation 5:6&ndash;14</a>, the Lamb who was slain</span></li></ul>