Today, washing hands is something we take for granted. We have access to clean running water, soap and towels to dry our hands. We wash our hands multiple times a day as a matter of practical cleanliness and safety.
In Old Testament times, before Jesus was born, God commanded all who would enter the temple of God to wash their hands and feet to cleanse themselves before walking on holy ground. The washing of hands and feet was commanded before sacred rituals and important ceremonies. Taking time to clean one’s hands and feet demonstrated their desire to purify themselves and direct their hearts and obedience towards God.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (JAMES 4:8)
Take time to wash your hands and point your thoughts and heart towards Jesus and the sacrifice He made for you. Prepare yourself to thoughtfully consider Jesus’ last hours as He willingly gave Himself over to persecution and death in order to bring you into joyful relationship with your Heavenly Father.
We have prayed for you before this day, we are still praying for you as you walk through the Good Friday Experience. God loves you so much that He sent His perfect Son to die for you. We hope this experience provides thought and time for prayer as you reflect on the willing sacrifice of the Son of God and prepare your heart for Easter weekend.
BETRAYAL IN THE MARKETPLACE
One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, is preparing to betray Jesus. Judas approaches the chief priests in the marketplace and asks, “What will you give me if I deliver Him over to you?” They pay Judas thirty pieces of silver. The amount of coins the priests offer Judas is enough to motivate him to follow through with his part of the bargain. From that moment on, Judas is looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to the priests (Matthew 26:14-16).
Jesus spends vast amounts of time with each man who calls himself a disciple. There is a deep love and compassion forged by days, months and years of grueling travel and a focus on God’s message and mission. Jesus spends His days close to this man, Judas, whom He knows will give Him over to excruciating torture and pain. As Lord, Jesus holds the power to stop His betrayer and save Himself from agony. He does not.
A few days before the final Passover meal (what refer to as the Last Supper), Jesus raises His friend Lazarus from the dead. As a result, people in the city of Bethany believe Jesus is the Son of God and they follow Him. Jesus is believed to have been resting in Bethany while sending Peter and John ahead of Him to Jerusalem to prepare for the Passover Feast. When Peter and John arrive in the city, a man greets them and takes them to a large room in the upstairs area of a house, the Upper Room. The room is furnished and ready for Jesus and His disciples when they arrive.
Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, ‘Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” (MARK 14:12-15)
THE LAST SUPPER
Jews participate in a Passover feast every year to celebrate God’s liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The disciples are unaware of the significance of this particular Passover and how this final meal with their Savior will drastically change their understanding of Passovers to come.
Once Jesus arrives in the Upper Room He sits down with His disciples to eat, but He does something apart from ordinary tradition. Jesus adds something new. He takes a cup filled with wine and a piece of bread and says, “This cup is My blood and this bread is My body. Eat and remember Me.”
Previously, the Jews would eat and remember God’s deliverance from slavery. Now, Jesus is saying to His people to remember something else entirely. Instead of eating in remembrance of their liberation from Egypt, Jesus wants them to eat in remembrance of His death and their liberation from the slavery of sin.
And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until
it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (LUKE 22:15-20)
After Jesus tells His disciples to forever remember Him when eating the Passover meal, He looks around the table and makes a startling statement. The man who will betray Jesus is sitting at the table with them; the betrayer is one close to them all.
When it was evening, He reclined at the table with the twelve. And as they were eating, He said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to Him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray Him,
answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (MATTHEW 26:20-25)
Judas leaves. The remaining men are left to take in the full ramifications of their friend’s actions. Jesus warns them there will come a time they will each fall away from Him. Peter, one of Jesus’ most beloved disciples, protests and says he will never leave Jesus, but will instead die for Him. The others say the same. Jesus informs Peter that he will deny knowing Him three different times, before the rooster crows the next morning, after Jesus is betrayed and led away by guards.
Jesus’ heart is turned towards the will of His heavenly Father. He understands with His Godly humanity the intense sacrifice and pain He is called to endure for humankind and the men around His table. Jesus informed those very men that one disciple will commit the sin of betrayal; the other, the sin of denial. Yet, He is not deterred from His course.
God fully knows the heart of each individual sitting in the Upper Room during The Last Supper. Imagine sitting at the same table with the man you consider your Lord and Savior, as the understanding of Jesus’ words begins to sink in. Prepare yourself as Jesus demonstrates a sacrifice from a depth of love we can barely fathom.
After Jesus and His disciples finish the Last Supper, Jesus leaves the Upper Room and makes His way to the Mount of Olives. The disciples follow and He tells each to make sure they “do not enter into temptation,” for even as Jesus is facing His death, He is considering the hearts of His followers. Jesus walks with them to a place called Gethsemane and moves further away to another spot where He kneels down and begins to pray.
And going farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying,“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”(MATTHEW 26:39)
Jesus is God, yet He is also human. He feels the same pain and emotions as you and I, but carries the knowledge of God, thus understands the details of everything He is about to experience. Jesus knows His disciple Judas will soon betray Him, His people will hand Him over for crucifixion and He will endure incredible agony as He is whipped, tortured, persecuted and nailed to a cross.
The ‘cup’ Jesus is asking God to take from Him is symbolic of the suffering He knows is coming. Jesus is asking God to spare Him if possible, and yet still says, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus is directing His thoughts, worship and obedience to God the Father, even when facing terrible circumstances. Jesus prays three times, each time praying for the Will of God.
Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the
third time, saying the same words again. (MATTHEW 26:42-44)
Jesus and His disciples are in the Garden when guards, led by Judas, approach them and events are set in motion just as Jesus prophesied to His disciples.
While He was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize Him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed Him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. (MATTHEW 26:47-50)
Imagine the time before the crucifixion, when Jesus is living with the full understanding of the excruciating pain He faces in the coming hours. He knows what He faces, yet is willing to follow the will of His Father. How do you face difficult decisions? Do you pray, “Not as I will, but as You will?
INSTRUMENTS OF SUFFERING
After Judas’ betrayal, Jesus is led away and put in custody. The men guarding Jesus mock Him; blindfolding Him, beating Him and asking Him to name the men who struck Him, saying “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” (Luke 22:63-65). A long robe is placed on Jesus, along with other more expensive clothing, to provide more methods to mock and ridicule.
The next day Jesus is put in front of a crowd of people who decide His fate. The crowd is asked to choose to save either a murderer named Barabbas or an innocent man named Jesus. The crowd screams to save Barabbas and to send the innocent Jesus to death. Pilate, the governor, washes his hands in front of the crowd symbolizing that he will take no responsibility for Jesus’ death. Even Pilate seems to somewhat grasp the ramifications of what is to come.
After Pilate hands Jesus over to Roman guards, Jesus is dragged to a courtyard, tied to a thick, wooden post and is flogged repeatedly with a whip called a flagrum. The flagrum is made of leather strands with small pieces of bone and metal attached in places designed to cause incredible pain by ripping the skin from a person’s back.
A crown of thorns is roughly placed upon Jesus’ head as a symbol, mocking Jesus’ claim to be King of the Jews. The thorns are thick and strong; they pierce skin as Jesus struggles with the incredible pain.
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (PHILIPIANS 3:10-11)
As you spend time with the instruments of suffering, take note of the significance of each item. Each is designed to bring pain and humiliation to the recipient. How difficult it is to endure the agony when there is no way out; yet how significant is it to choose to endure pain when you are capable of stopping it? Jesus has the power to stop His suffering at any time. He is God. He also knows if He does not endure the crucifixion then you cannot be saved for eternity. Jesus made the choice to suffer and die for you.
THE WEIGHTOF THE CROSS
After He is whipped and a crown of thorns placed on His head, the cross is moved to Jesus’ bloody back and shoulders. Jesus begins to carry His cross for three quarters of a mile to the place of His crucifixion, Golgotha. The wood is solid and incredibly heavy. The torture and beatings have taken a toll on His body, and Jesus struggles as the wood’s weight presses down on His open wounds. A man named Simon of Cyrene is forced by guards to carry the cross, most assuredly because Jesus’ human body collapses under the strain.
And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry His cross. And they brought Him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull). And they offered Him
wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it. (MARK 15:21-23)
Gently pick up the cross in front of you. Consider the heaviness and weight of the wood as you imagine having to carry it after your back, head and body are bruised and bloodied by beatings with whips and fists. Jesus knows all along He is facing this magnitude of suffering, yet He maintains His desire to follow God’s Will and provide a way to your Savior and Redeemer.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we are punished justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (LUKE 23:39-43)
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said(to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst”. A jar full of sour wine stood there,
so they put a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine,
He said, “It is finished”, and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (JOHN 19:28-30)
BURIAL AND THE TOMB
Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Even as He dies on the cross and is prepared for burial, still more instances of prophetic statements are brought to fruition.
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth— that you may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again
Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced.’ (JOHN 19:31-37)
Pilate gives a wealthy man named Joseph of Arimathea permission to care for Jesus’ body in any manner of Joseph’s choosing. Joseph takes fine linen and wraps it around the body. Nicodemus, a religious man who loves Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Mary help with the preparation. Jesus’ body is wrapped in cloth containing myrrh and oils.
Oils and spices are costly. The spices gathered to use on Jesus’ body play a significant role during the Passover week and hold great monetary value. The amount of spices used to embalm Jesus is considered abundant and excessive; His body is treated with tremendous affection and care, in a fashion typically reserved for royalty. Those who saw His torture and crucifixion now care for Him after His physical death as they would care for a King.
Jesus is laid to rest in a newly built tomb on land owned by Joseph. The placement of the tomb is another demonstration of prophecy fulfilled. The tomb is made out of rock and there is only one way in or out. After Jesus is laid to rest, the tomb is closed off with a massive stone rolled in front of the entrance and a soldier made to stand guard.
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (JOHN 19:38-40)
And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (ISAIAH 53:9)
Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (JOHN19:41-42)
Consider the oils used to care of Jesus’ body. Each drop is precious and symbolizes how dedicated Jesus’ followers are to His love and care. As you imagine watching the stone rolling in front of the tomb, put yourself in the place of those who walked with and loved Jesus. How immense was the pain as they each struggle for understanding the change in their circumstances? Is this what Jesus promised?
A little history on the oils and spices used at the time of Jesus' burial.
Also called 'The Balm of Gilead'
A little history on the oils and spices used at the time of Jesus' burial.
THE CROSS CHANGES YOU
God alone has the power of Creator and Sovereign Lord. His perfect will provides a redeemer and a means for each of us to build a relationship with Him. Through scripture, God demonstrates the work of the cross and how Jesus’ sacrifice provides the power for us to change.
As Jesus hung dying on the cross He cried, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus takes on your sin and in the final moment of His death He feels our utter separation from God and cries out in agony. For someone living in perfect communion with His Holy Father, the devastation of our sin on His shoulders is incredibly painful and emotionally devastating. This pain Jesus suffers at the hands of mankind is His perfect sacrifice for us.
And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (LUKE 9:23-24)
He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 PETER 2:24)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (GALATIANS 2:20)
On the cross we place our sins and our transgressions. Jesus’ life and sacrifice will carry the weight of all we bring; every guilt, shame and fear is made new in the work of God’s love sent in the form of His perfect Son.
Take a piece of paper and write the burdens you carry, sins you confess and prayers you offer to God. After you spend some time in prayer, fold and nail your paper to the cross. This represents laying your sins at Jesus’ feet, letting your Savior carry your burdens and acknowledging the redeeming work of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
LIVING THE GOSPEL
The Gospel summarizes the greatest act of love in the history of the world. Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection are more than parts of an inspiring story about a spiritual leader. The gospel message of hope, love and peace points to a specific person in a specific moment in time. Jesus’ death on the cross pays the penalty for our sin and His resurrection proves He is God and worthy of all praise and worship. This is the Gospel:
God loves you very much.
Sometimes difficulties of life and the brokenness of the world make God’s love hard to believe. However, this verse proves His love for us because Jesus really does exist, died on the cross for us and came back to life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (JOHN 3:16)
We have a problem the Bible calls Sin.
Sin is anything we do, say or think in disobedience to God. Sin is our desire to be independent of God despite His role as our Creator. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (ROMANS 3:23)
Sin creates massive consequences we cannot solve on our own.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ROMANS 6:23)
Jesus’ death pays the penalty for our sin.
God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus (also called Christ) to forgive us our sins and allow for a full relationship with God. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (ROMANS 5:8)
This salvation from the penalty of our sins can only be found in Jesus.
It cannot be earned because it is a gift. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (EPHESIANS 2:8-9)
This salvation is received by believing Jesus is the Son of God and submitting your life to Him.
This submission is called repentance. It is the decision to turn from a lifestyle of sin to a lifestyle of obedience to Jesus.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (ROMANS10:9)
How does a person become a Christian?
It’s as simple as A, B, C.
Admit (LUKE 13:3, ACTS 3:19) Admit that you are a sinner and you are willing to repent of your sin.
Believe (ROMANS 10:9) Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again from the dead.
Confess (ROMANS 10:9, MATTHEW10:32-33) Confess verbally and publicly your belief in Jesus.
Please visit with one of our Frisco First ministers if you have questions or would like to learn more about making a decision of salvation.