My first Good Friday with new eyes
I remember the first Good Friday service I attended after I made my commitment to Christ. The pastor of the packed Nazarene church in my community welcomed my husband, two young sons, and me. He brought us folding chairs so we sat crammed in the back near the door for our first ecumenical service ever. The pastor seemed so excited to see us.
After I had wept through the entire service, I spotted my boss’s wife seated near the front. I don’t know how I hadn’t seen her so poised and intent.
I considered fleeing after the noon hour service so she wouldn’t see my blotchy, mascara smeared face. Since that wouldn’t be proper, I preoccupied myself with my toddler and preschooler.
Once the tears started, I couldn’t stop. During songs, I tried not to sob. I don’t remember their titles, but one, I believe, was about the man who carried the cross for Jesus. An innocent, perfect Jesus carried all my sins and took my punishment. Jesus’ sacrifice for me stood out more that day than any other time.
Although emotionally draining, that service will always remain a special one to me because it was the year I first believed. My gratitude overflowed. Good Friday is very sad. However, on Sunday, the empty tomb impacts us. Jesus IS alive! And that, my friend, makes this holy time one of rejoicing and thanksgiving.
Prophecies fulfilled after hundreds of years
I still marvel over the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. I love how they point to Jesus hundreds of years before He came.
Zechariah 9:9 predicts Jesus will enter Jerusalem on a donkey. “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” In Matthew 21 and John 12, the Triumphal Entry describes when people spread palm leaves on the road as Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.
Isaiah 53 describes Jesus: “pierced for our transgressions. . . crushed for our iniquities. . . by his wounds we are healed.” “Yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death. . .” In Matthew 26:62, Jesus did not defend himself against his persecutors. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, buried Jesus in his new, unused tomb (John 19:38-42).
Zechariah 11:13 predicts the betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver.
Isaiah 50:6 tells us about the soldiers spitting on him. “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
Isaiah 53:12 mentions dividing the spoils and being numbered with the transgressors. Psalm 22:17-18 tells “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Psalm 69:21 says, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
The crucifixion is mentioned in Psalm 22: 14, 16-17. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. . . . they have pierced my hands and my feet. . .”
Exodus 12:46 lets us know that his bones will not be broken.
Zechariah 12:10 tells us his side would be pierced. “They will look upon me, the one they have pierced.”
Amos 8:9 foretold darkness covering the land. “‘In that day,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.’”
According to Psalm 16:10, the Messiah was to be raised from the dead: “. . .my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
According to Psalm 110:1, “The Lord says to my Lord; ‘Sit at my right hand . . .’”
I hope you’ll take time to read the entire account in the gospels (Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, and John 18-21) and remember Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection so that we may all rejoice in his gift of forgiveness this week and every day of the year. For my heart sings with yours a grateful song of praise as I humbly sit at His feet, resting in His love for us.
May you have a blessed Easter.