Thanks for being here.
Today is Good Friday. Which is the most bittersweet day on the Christian calendar.
Sorrow : Remembering: Many things - Jesus suffered at the hands of his own creation.
Joy : Because it's also a day that we remember the depth of God's love for each and every one of us.
I believe that Jesus is the savior of the world. And as the people of the world, in so many ways, we continue to destroy ourselves and each other.
I believe it's important to remember that we believe that Jesus alone is the great hope of humanity. And that's all about the cross.
Tonight, our mission is simple, to enter into the story, and let the great mystery of the crucified God capture our hearts.
It’s a bit of a strange phrase, don’t you think? The Crucified God.
What kind of diety is killed at the hands of his own creation?
Yet, this is God. - There is no clearer picture of who God is than that man, right there saying 'Father forgive them, they know not what they do.'
The forgivness offered to us on the cross and at the ressurection is not just the climax of the bible, it's the climax of history. This weekend, we remember and we celebrate the most important events in the history of the world.
Nations rise and fall, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will live on for eternity.
Come with Us.
Not in Believers Center
Hearts and our minds are in jerusalem. - 2000 years ago.
It is the week leading up to Good Friday, the day Jesus is brutally killed.
We're one of the pilgrims who have come to believe in Jesus. We believe he is the Messiah; God's anointed king. The one who liberate us from tyranny.
We followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. And to us, everything seems fine. Great even. We have no idea that in a few short days, this precious man, this compassionate healer, will stripped naked, beaten, and brutally killed. Betrayed, shivering, and alone.
But today is a good day.
We arrive in Jerusalem, the Holy City.
When Jesus came to Jerusalam from Galilee, he enters the city riding on a… Donkey.
Not even a full grown donkey, but a colt. - Male donkey, younger than 4 years old. - Basically a wimpy little donkey. Wasn't an accident - Jesus did it on purpose. A parody of the great rulers of the day.
That same week, the week leading up to Passover, Pontius Pilate, the roman governer also came in to the city.
He doesn't live in Jerusalam. Didn't care much for commoners.
He had a lovely home. Mansion. Built on the seaside right off the mediteranian sea, next to Herod the great. You can still see the ruins there. City named after Cesar - Cesaria.
So, at Passover. - The jewish holiday remembering their liberation from oppression.
This was a good time for people to get the idea to revolt and rebel. - This actually happened multiple times.
So the roman governor knew that he couldn't just chill in his mansion, but instead had to come down to oversee.
So in the same week - Jesus and Pontius Pilate BOTH come to Jerusalem.
But he is not riding a donkey. No Pontius Pilate rides, what is known as a war horse.
If you were to see it you'd say "Yes there he is! The mighty governer! Great and powerful! Mighty stallion!"
Strength / glory / dignity.
Meanwhile: Peasant, preacher, prophet guy
Riding a wimpy kid donkey and then these poor people surrounding him and recognizing him as the real king.
Appear slightly ridiculous. Might have been some people laughing.
But we don't think so. With waving palm branches we say
“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)
We believe - Jesus is the true king.
Enough of Herod, enough of Cesar. Jesus is the true king.
4 days pass, Jesus and his disciples sit down for dinner.
The disciples eating a meal with Jesus was not new. They ate together all the time. - But what they didn’t realize is this would be the last time they would be together with Jesus as the 12. And the last time they’d be with Jesus before he's killed.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. (Matthew 26:27)
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
It’s really a shame to call it the Last Supper. In many ways it’s the first supper, the first of millions and millions and millions of these suppers.
For 2000 years, the church has the remembered and celebrated this exact moment. In fact, years later, the Apostle Paul would communion, a participation in the body and blood of Christ.
In a moment, we’re going to pass the elements of communion. A small piece of bread and a small cup of juice.
But I don’t want this part of service to pass without you realizing the significance of what’s happening here.
Participation / Unity / Sacrifice / Mystery
A tangible encounter with a God who desires to make himself known.
When you receive the elements, just hold on to them and we’ll partake of them together.
Jesus broke the bread and offered it to the 12. To each of them.
Not only is the offer extended to those who society has decided are unworthy, the offer is extended even to the ones who would betray Jesus directly.
An offer that Judas in his brokenness was not able to receive.
The question is: Can you?
Can you receive the kindness of Jesus that is neither earned nor deserved? But simply given, as a free gift.
No matter : who are / what done…
No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how many times you’ve done it, and no matter how ashamed and unworthy you feel, you have been invited to the table.
(Bow your heads as we pray.)
Lord Jesus, we come to your table as grateful people. And tonight, on good friday, we deliberately focus our hearts and our minds on your wonderful grace.
Life can be so complicated. But when we come to your table, everything gets real simple. A simple gift offered to us, and a simple yes is all you need from us.
So tonight we say Yes. To your forgiveness, to your grace, to your mercy, to your kindness, to your invitation.
Remember death Proclaim resurrection Await return
So let’s eat and drink together.
(Put cup under seat)
Later, Jesus becomes troubled and he goes to the garden to pray.
He's in anguish, he's troubled, he's afraid, and that's when they come for him.
The Temple police, led by Judas. Who betrays Jesus with a kiss.
Jesus is arrested and taken away.
He's taken to the house of Caiaphas. It's really more of the palace. And there in front of the religious council, Jesus is questioned.
Caiaphas, places Jesus under oath and says:
“I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matthew 26:63)
Jesus says it says you say.
Then Caiphas tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. (Matthew 26:65)
One problem: They're not allowed to execute people. The Romans have reserved that right for themselves.
So they need Pilate (Roman Governer) to oversee the execution. - As luck would have it - He's in town.
There was a water cistern - turned into a dungeon. - Shame high priest would have a dungeon, but he did.
No doubt, that's where Jesus was kept. He would be lowered down from the top with ropes.
They did the same thing with Jeremiah. He also protested the temple. 6 centuries earlier. - For that, he ended up in a cistern turned prison just like Jesus.
You can go to that sistern today. - It's overseen by Franciscan monks. (Pic)
In it is a small pulpit, and on the pulpit is a notebook. And in that notebook, page after page after page is Psalm 88 in every type of language.
You can flip through and find it in Spanish, english, french, Japanese, whatever.
Why Psalm 88? It's the psalm of the pit.
In it, the psalmist writes from a place of despair, where everything is falling apart. - Everything is going to darkness.
Church history tells us that when Jesus was alone in that pit, in pitch black darkness awaiting his death, he could be heard praying the Psalm of the pit.
Picture in your mind - Jesus in a dungeon, total darkness, awaiting his execution, perched up against the wall. This is his prayer.
O Lord, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you. (Psalm 88:1)
Let my prayer enter into your presence; incline your ear to my lamentation. (Psalm 88:2)
For I am full of trouble; my life is at the brink of the grave. (Psalm 88:3)
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I have become like one who has no strength; (Psalm 88:4)
Lost among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, (Psalm 88:5)
Whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. (Psalm 88:6)
You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, in dark places, and in the abyss. (Psalm 88:7)
You have put my friends far from me; you have made me to be abhorred by them; I am in prison and cannot get free. (Psalm 88:9)
But as for me, O Lord, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you. (Psalm 88:14)
Lord, why have you rejected me? why have you hidden your face from me? (Psalm 88:15)
Ever since my youth, I have been afflicted and at the point of death; I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind. (Psalm 88:16)
They surround me all day long like a flood; they encompass me on every side. (Psalm 88:18)
My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, and darkness is my only companion. (Psalm 88:19)
And Jesus sits and waits for the sun to rise on the day of his execution.
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. (John 18:28)
So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” (John 18:29)
They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” (John 18:30)
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” (John 18:31)
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33)
This is the question for Pilate. He has no interest in some Jewish religion that he knows little about.
If he is going to kill him it's going to be for something political. - Treason. It's going to be because he is trying to take power from Cesar. And we can't just have another man coming around claiming to be King.
Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33)
Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (John 18:34)
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” (John 18:35)
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting. But my kingdom is not of the world.” (John 18:36)
See, the kingdom of God, is not like anything else we have here.
Babylon / Persia / Greece / Rome - Kingdoms - world.
These are the kingdoms that come from this world. The way of the beast.
But the kingdom of God, not from this world.
If it was, my servants would be doing what your servants do: fight.
… (Pilate) went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:39)
They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (John 18:40)
Barabbas was a revolutionary. Mel Gibson doesn't get this one quite right. He paints Barabbas to be maniacal psychopath killer. That's not what Barabbas was. Barabbas was a hero.
Barabbas was a revolutionary who led an uprising against the Romans and in doing so, some Romans were killed. He was a freedom fighter if you were jewish.
Oh, by the way his full name was "Jesus bar Abba" - Jesus Barabbas. Uh oh! We got ourselves 2 Jesus's on Good Friday. One who saves by shedding the blood of his enemies, the other saves by allowing his own blood to be shed.
Which do we want? - That's the question being asked. You got two Jesus's in here. Which one do you want to keep, and which one do you want to kill? The revolutionary or the one who speaks about different kind of kingdom?
They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (John 18:40)
Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” (Luke 23:4)
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (Luke 23:5)
When they saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” (Luke 23:6)
The Jews answered him, “he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” (Luke 23:7)
That doesn't mean what most of you are thinking. This is a political statement. That's exactly what Cesar claimed to be.
Every Coin in their pockets had the face of Cesar with the inscription: 'The Son of God'.
Clever - They know how to manipulate Pilate. They know where he's vulnerable. - To let Jesus go would be disloyal to nation. Unpatriotic even.
So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat. (John 19:13)
He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” (John 19:14)
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15)
Wow. That's a eruption of the real.
"This guy is going against all your systems."
"Just so you know Pilate, we're playing the same game you are."
They take off their masks for a moment.
"We have no king but Cesar either."
"We talk about God. We talk about the messiah. That's how we get power. Just like you. We do it through religion, you do it through conquest, but at the end of the day, we both serve the same master, and that's Cesar. So we're gonna put on our masks again and go back to being priests, but just know, we know who the real King is too. That's power. Alright? We straight? Good. We'll put the masks back on. Now let's keep playing the game."
So Pilate delivered him over to be crucified. (John 19:16)
They take Jesus away, bearing his own cross,
to The Place of the Skull.
This darker path into the heart of pain.
Naked and bleeding, the God-man would make his way to Golgotha.
For he began his letting-go before the worlds were made.
And Jesus marches on.
Golgotha, where Brutality and suffering
cut through like a maddening wind.
Bystanders and bypassers turn away
and wipe his image from their memory.
Nothing is alive, not even the trees.
Save a few left standing,
made crosses to torture and kill.
And Jesus limps on.
Golgotha. It’s name, it’s reputation, it’s appearance
Speak of ugliness and death.
And Jesus trudges on.
The Path. Sometimes a beautiful song.
Other times, a wounded heart and a broken jaw.
But still Jesus marches on.
Now is the time to loosen, cast away
The useless weight of everything but love
Deeper than the oceans.
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha) (John 19:16)
And after several hours of hanging on that cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice:
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Which he get's through the 1st half. Allow me to read you a little bit more.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; by night as well, but I find no rest (Psalm 22:2)
Be not far away, O Lord; you are my strength; hasten to help me. (Psalm 22:19)
Save me from the sword, my life from the power of the dog. (Psalm 22:20)
Save me from the lion's mouth, my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls. (Psalm 22:21)
I will declare your Name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. (Psalm 22:22)
Praise the Lord, you that fear him… (Psalm 22:23)
For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither does he hide his face from them; but when they cry to him he hears them. (Psalm 22:24)
The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: "May your heart live forever!" (Psalm 22:26)
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow before him. (Psalm 22:27)
For kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:28)
My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the Lord's forever. (Psalm 22:30)
They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that he has FINISHED. (Psalm 22:31)
Jesus's Prayer on the cross. "The generation to come shall make known the savings deeds that He Has Finished."
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a branch and held it to his mouth. (John 19:29)
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
Jesus is dead.
Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.
With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.
Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.
The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.
And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
And now we leave Golgotha - and along with a few of the women, we follow Joseph and Nicodemus as they carry the body of Jesus now wrapped in cloths anointed with spices. - Tenderly carry the body of Jesus from Golgotha a short distance to a walled garden, Josephs garden, wealthy man, joseph unlocks the gate and they carry the body of Jesus into this small and peaceful garden. Olive trees, fragrant flowers.
So different than the scene of Golgotha, this garden. - Peaceful. Quiet. Beauty to it. The body of Jesus was laid in this new tomb, it was going to be Joseph's tomb, but in an act of devotion he gives his tomb to Jesus.
We see Jesus laying in that tomb. A large stone is rolled in front of the tomb.
The tomb is sealed and for 3 days, it will stay.
I think it's important in moments like these to not jump to the punch line of the ressurection.
It doesn't mean as much if we don't take the time to enter into the waiting.
Into this reality that a world without God would be one continuous nightmare.
And so Good Friday is about remembering, and entering into the waiting.
And not just remembering that the people of the world WERE waiting for Jesus, but that we're STILL waiting in lots of ways. Waiting for God to make the world right, which he ultimately will.
Waiting for rebirth and renewal.
In Romans 8, Paul tells us that all creation is groaning for redemption.
And so maybe you tonight feel like you're waiting.
And every day that passes just serves as a reminder that you're still waiting.
And if you would allow me to encourage you with something, it's this: Resurrection is coming. In our story tonight but in your story too.