Tag Archives: Remembering

Good Friday 2013


IMG_2386Good Friday. The day that marks the death of Jesus. It is a day I have been looking forward to for a couple of months now. This weekend will mark the end of the Lenten Season as we celebration the death and resurrection of Jesus. The focus for many Christians the last 43 days, has been on our desperate need for a savoir. Many have sacrificed something as a constant reminder of the sacrifice it was for Jesus to live on earth and ultimately die.

Now we have reached Good Friday. By the end of the weekend, our entire focus will have shifted. From desperation to rejoicing; from despair to victory- but not quite yet. I am glad we know what is coming on Easter. But today is the time to live in the moment of Jesus’ death.

Here is Matthew’s account of the day Jesus died….

Matthew 27

New Living Translation (NLT)

Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”

Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says,

“They took the thirty pieces of silver—
the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel,
10 and purchased the potter’s field,
as the Lord directed.”

11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43 He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.


Ash Wednesday


Today marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. Lent is the season on the Church calendar that leads up to Easter. For the next 46 days, the focus of the Church will be to prepare for Easter… to prepare to remember the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

More specifically, today is Ash Wednesday. For many years, the tradition for the Church has been to mark Ash Wednesday by starting a journey which prepares us as individuals and a congregation for Easter. One part of this journey is sacrifice. Many Christians observe the season by fasting, or giving something up, for the 40 days that lead to Easter. (Many people do not observe their fast on Sundays because Sunday is recognized as a day of celebration with the congregation. Therefore, it’s a 40 day fast.)

The sacrifice that a person makes for the season is supposed to help focus his or her attention on the sacrifice that Jesus made. The longing for whatever it is that has been sacrificed should awaken a longing for Jesus instead. The journey is intended not to just be a random practice, but an opportunity to draw closer to who Jesus is by identifying with Him through sacrifice and longing.

The other part of the journey is the act of taking up a practice. If I give up something for the next 40 days, I need to consider what I am taking up to replace it…. What practice am I going to take up that will help me draw closer to Jesus? In giving something up, I’m creating space in my life. The space will be filled with something… the question is with what will I fill it?

I would encourage you to consider what Ash Wednesday will mean for you. What will you do during this season to prepare for Easter?

Scripture readings for today:

Joel 2:12-17

Return to the Lord

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
14  Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?

15  Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.

17  Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Matthew 6:16-12

Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Pslams 106, part 1


Read the Psalm then, either as a family or on your own, think about God’s story in your life. What has God done in your family history to show how good God is? What lessons have you learned? What lessons can you learn from other people? It’s important to remember them!

Psalm 106
Give Thanks to the LORD, for He Is Good

1Praise the LORD!Oh give thanks to the LORD,for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or declare all his praise?
3Blessed are they who observe justice,
whodo righteousness at all times!

4Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
5that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance.

6Both we andour fathers have sinned;
we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
7Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
theydid not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
butrebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8Yet he saved themfor his name’s sake,
that he might make known his mighty power.
9Herebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
and heled them through the deep as through a desert.
10So hesaved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
11Andthe waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.
12Then they believed his words;
theysang his praise.

13But they soonforgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
andput God to the test in the desert;
15hegave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.

16When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
and Aaron,the holy one of the LORD,
17the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the company of Abiram.
18Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.