“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
Today is Good Friday! Everything we’ve seen this week has been pointing to this day that we call “good.” But what is it about this day that is good?
Let’s get some perspective. Let’s put this day in some context. As we zoom out, we see that the Old Testament looks forward to Jesus, the gospels tell the story of Jesus, and the rest of the New Testament explains the present and the future in light of Jesus.
4,000 years ago God appeared to Abraham and promised to make him a great nation. 500 years later Joshua and the people of Israel would cross the Jordan River and enter into the land, fulfilling a part of that promise. In another 500 years, David would establish his kingdom in Jerusalem, where his son Solomon would build a great temple. Once a year, according to the law that had been established through Moses, the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies, which was surrounded on all sides by a thick, 30-foot high curtain, and on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. That people of Israel would be driven from their land by foreign empires and the temple would be destroyed. As God’s people disobeyed and were defeated, prophets like Isaiah would tell of a day of restoration and healing and reformers like Ezra and Nehemiah would rebuild the temple and the wall around it. The prophet Zechariah would write that one day God would pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a “spirit of grace” as they would “Look on him whom they have pierced.”
This prophecy would look forward to the day, a day when the Roman governor Pontius Pilate would also invite us to look at Jesus, beaten, wearing a blood stained robe and a crown of thorns. Pilate would say to the crowd, “Behold this man. Behold your king.” A few hours later, outside those same city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus would be executed next to two thieves.
That is what we are invited to do today—to zoom in and look at our savior Jesus and remember the hours of that day.
If you want to get the most out of this experience, set aside at least an hour and grab the following items: hammer, nail, rock, paper, pen, and one can of food. If you’re planning to go on the outdoor, walking option, then you’ll need a backpack, a few extra rocks or bricks, and some comfortable walking shoes.
Begin your Good Friday experience by pressing play on the audio player above.
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “How Deep the Father’s Love” performed by Kate Schneider.
Copyright music from “Requiem for String Quartet in C minor” by Dee Yan-Key used with permission: