Good Friday Home Meditation, April 10, 2020 | Grace Reformed Church
In lieu of our normal gathering on Good Friday this year, you may use the order below to meditate on the death of our Lord.
Heavenly Father, be with us now as we consider the great sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Though his entire incarnation, his humiliation, his obedience, was all a sacrifice for our sake, today we meditate on the final sacrifice of our Lord, when he took with him to the cross all of our sins, and died a terrible, humiliating death for them. Let us not be discouraged by this meditation, but instead be built up, knowing that we have a savior that would suffer thus for us. In Jesus's name, amen.
Reading: Matthew 26:36-56
We’ve read here today about the death of our Lord, what he suffered on our behalf. There was real physical and emotional pain here leading up to the cross.
Pastor Mark, for the last several years read Physicians description of the crucifixion, what goes on, physically to a person being crucified. The pain was enormous, it wasn’t always easy to hear, thinking of our Savior bearing that torment.
Heap on the emotional pain that he was suffering. Remember the scene, they had just finished the Passover meal where Christ instituted the sacrament of communion, all while showing enormous restraint because he was betrayed. After that meal was over, and it was something that typically took four hours or more, he went out and prayed in the garden with such intensity that he was sweating blood. All this while knowing the task in front of him.
Some people don’t understand why we have Good Friday services, rather that we focus on Easter, when death is conquered and Christ is raised, but there is a point here. But we’re not here just to wallow in the macabre. We are here to remember, to deepen our understanding and reflection on the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.
There was physical pain, there was emotional pain, there was shame heaped on him, there was the ironic spectacle of the people who praised his arrival six days earlier now calling for him to die and a prisoner being released. There was the denial of Peter three times, and the fact that by the time he finally was crucified and died, everyone was so scared that almost no one was actually there to be with him. All the people that had clamored around him for months, now abandoned him at the end. No support from friends, the political structures that were there to rescue him from injustice, all washed their hands of it and sent him to die.
All that is true, all that is horrible, it is a travesty of epic proportions. But honestly, if we search, I’m sure that we could find in history stories of worse abandonment, more torturous pain, more gross injustice from political authorities. As far as the physical pain, I’m sure we could find more awful crucifixions—Peter was crucified upside down, which I’m told was even worse.
The pain and humiliation was terrible, almost beyond our imagining, but that wasn’t the worst of it. We can focus on the physical, but the Passion of our Lord is really about the spiritual, and that pain, that injustice, that sacrifice, is indescribable. The Son of Man, at the end of a life perfectly lived, took on himself the punishment, the just judgement for the sins of his entire church, past, present, and future. That is the sacrifice. For all of the physical pain, the most painful of all of the scenes is really when Christ cries out, “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?” The weight of sin, separation from the Father.
I heard someone on a panel once say, “There’s only one case of a truly innocent person dying, and that’s Jesus on the cross.” And another person on the panel quickly corrected him, and said, “That actually isn’t true, because remember that at that moment, bearing all of those sins, Jesus was actually the worst sinner to ever live!” He carried all of those sins to the cross with him. His death was just, because he carried all that with him, and that weight was greater than the physical cross that he struggled to carry to the hill.
So take this Good Friday to reflect on that. Drop to your knees and remember that Christ died, yes, but he died with the weight of all of that sin on him. Billions of lifetimes worth of sin. He took it on himself and bore the punishment for it all. This is your Savior, and he deserves all of your worship.