Day Six: Good Friday
Texts: (Matthew 27:1–61, Mark 15:1–47, Luke 23:1–56, John 18:28–19:42.)
The theme of today’s devotional is the word “Love.” Do you believe God loves you? Perhaps you’ve struggled receiving love in your life. Maybe even those closest to you have not been very loving. Maybe others have failed you in this way time and again. Maybe you have searched and searched but never found someone to truly love you. Perhaps you can’t love yourself either. Perhaps you think your mistakes are too great and sins are beyond the reach of love. Today I would encourage you to prayerfully consider the greatest act of love in the history of the world. Let’s remember the events of Good Friday:
As of early Friday morning, Jesus had already been arrested and tried religiously before Caiaphas the high priest and the other leaders. The Jewish Sanhedrin called for a secret trial in the dead of night (probably around 3:00am) and a civil trial before the Roman rulers followed (probably around 6:00am). Since the Jewish leaders did not have the authority to carry out capital punishment, charges of blasphemy were changed to charges of sedition and treason. This was of course not true. Still, one piece of evidence they put forward to support this charge was that Jesus was allegedly guilty of forbidding people to pay taxes. A second piece of evidence was that they said Jesus claimed to be King. All of these accusations would fit the charges and so Pilate decided to personally interrogate Jesus. When Pilate asked Jesus if Jesus was a king, Jesus replied by asking Pilate if it was His own idea or that of the Jews (Jn 18:34). Pilate asked Jesus straight up, “Are you a king?” (Jn 18:36) Christ assented, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37). After this short discussion, Pilate emerged to tell the Jews that he was not convinced of the charge of treason and that he saw no immediate threat. Pilate declared him innocent. However, the Jewish leaders mentioned him teaching in Galilee so Pilate attempted to pass the buck to Herod (this was his jurisdiction) who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time (Lk 23:7). Pilate sought desperately to release Jesus for at least two reasons: first, he knew the charges were unjust because they brought Jesus to him out of envy. (Matt 27:18) Second, Pilate’s wife had forewarned him to avoid becoming part of this malicious plot to charge Jesus. (Matt 27:19) Jesus remained silent before him and a frustrated Herod passed the prisoner back to Pilate.
Pilate had one last idea: A customary tradition at Passover was to allow one prisoner to go free. Pilate offered the people what he thought would be an easy choice: to release either Jesus of Nazareth or someone else he had in custody, a murderer and rebellion leader whose last name was “Barabbas.” (Many scholars believe his first name was, surprisingly, “Jesus.”  If so, here is the choice: “Which kind of Jesus do you want? Do you want a Jesus who incites rebellion and takes power through the sword or do you want the peaceable Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world?”) A bloodthirsty crowd cried out, “Give us Barabbas!” And what about Jesus of Nazareth? “Crucify Him!”
The guilty verdict was handed down that Jesus of Nazareth should be crucified. This is something the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, has to carry out, and reluctantly, he does. J. I. Packer wrote, “Pilate, having symbolically washed his hands of the matter – the goofiest gesture, perhaps of all time – gave the green light for judicial murder, directing that Jesus, though guiltless, should die all the same to keep people happy.” 
The guilty man would receive mercy while the innocent man would receive punishment.
Spiritually speaking, Barabbas is a picture of all of us.
While this outrageous injustice took place as perhaps the greatest scandal of human history, this is not the end of the story. The apostle Peter would say later, “Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (Acts 4:27-28 NIV).
Around 7am-8am, Jesus was severely beaten (or “flogged”). If I were to go into detail about what this meant some of you might have to stop reading because it’s just too gruesome. This was actually a skill that two Roman centurions would develop. They learned to swing a whip with a wooden handle about 1-foot long with leather straps attached to it which were about 6 – 8 feet long. Tied into those straps were bits of steel, glass, bone, and stone. The soldiers would tie the prisoner with their hands tied together at the top of a pole so that their whole body was exposed and whip them … the text tells us it was 39 times. The whole goal of the flogging was to slowly rip the skin off the prisoner’s back and their sides one lash at a time. They beat him, mocked him and put a royal colored robe on him and twisted thorns on his head saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” (Jn 19:3) Could you imagine what his back must have looked like after just 10 times? Or 20 times?
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5, NKJV)
Jesus was beaten so severely that another man named Simon of Cyrene helped to carry Jesus’ cross. The cross for us is so sanitized. It’s a piece of jewelry or a tattoo. It’s a symbol on top of a building. That’s not what it was back then. The cross was a symbol of death. The idea behind crucifixion is that this person was to be put to shame publicly. A spike was driven between the bones of the wrists to hold up the body and a spike through the feet in order to allow the victim to push up on something to breathe. Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. It was death by suffocation … very slow … suffocation. Jesus is nailed to a wooden cross where he remained for the next six hours. One of the seven things Jesus said on the cross was this:
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” (Matt 27:46, Ps 22:1)
Spiritually, God the father has turned His back on God the son. He is holy and God cannot look upon sin. (Hab 1:13) The apostle Paul said it this way: “He became sin who knew no sin ” (2 Cor 5:18). The cross is the atoning sacrifice, the just payment for the sins of the whole world. And then, with his dying breath, Jesus cries out a victory cry and says something really amazing … It’s this phrase:
“It is Finished!” (John 19:30)
What was finished? He was finished? His life was finished? His suffering was finished? No. No. And No. The Greek word was “tetelestai.” It’s a rich word, it is in the past perfect tense, which means something was accomplished in the past with ongoing effects into the future. In fact, it was an accounting term. It has been found on the bottom of ancient papyrus receipts in Egypt signifying that an account had been “paid in full.” The penalty for sin had been paid. It is finished.
If you want to be meticulous about your accounting, technically, it was an overpayment. This is the perfect son of God. He’s infinitely precious. It would be like if I owed you a hundred dollars and I said I’m ready to pay you, “Here’s a million dollars, keep the change.” That’s what the death of Jesus Christ is like, it’s an overpayment. That’s why the writer to the Hebrews uses the phrase, “How much more?” If in the Old covenant, the blood of goats and the ashes of a heifer could cover their sins each year, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb 9:13-14, NIV)
THE DAY THAT TRUE LOVE DIED
This is the message of Good Friday. This was all for Love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) The wrath of God was satisfied. Jesus, the righteous was forsaken in our place. Why? So that we would never be. Jesus faced the Father as judge so that we can approach God for mercy without fear and call Him “Abba, daddy,” a term not of anger or wrath, but a term of endearment, affection and love. This is the message of God’s love for you. Your sin debt is paid when you place your trust in Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
a great High Priest, whose name is Love
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look, and see Him there
who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the just is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, to remember your death brings me a mixture of excruciating pain, sadness and gratitude. Thank you Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you Lord, for making a way. I place my trust in you. O Lord, you’ve searched me and you know me, and even when I fail, because of the cross, I know you love me. I will forever praise and honor your name. You are worthy of all my allegiance. Worthy are you Lord, the lamb who was slain, to receive blessing, and dominion and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(If interested in watching a video teaching of these concepts, you can click below).
Tomorrow we will consider the events of Holy Saturday.
Holy Week Devotionals:
- Day 1 – Palm Sunday
- Day 2 – Monday
- Day 3 – Tuesday
- Day 4 – Wednesday
- Day 5 – Maundy Thursday
- Day 6 – Good Friday
- Day 7 – Holy Saturday
- Day 8 – Resurrection Sunday
 J. I. Packer, I want to Be a Christian (Wheaton, IL.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1985), 59.
 This is seen in witnesses of the Caesarean text (θ f1 700* syr), and is known as well by Origen and several marginal glosses.